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Caste in census: Quick to act, and then slowly starting to realize the full impact of this on their own political future




Caste politics have been taking a major move up in the last few years, with more movements towards caste based reservations (such as adding caste based reservations in educational colleges and the push to add caste based reservations in private colleges and in private companies). As a part of this, it is also politically difficult for any current party to make any kind of opposition to caste based demands or such politics. After all, for parties such as the Congress and the BJP, it is very hard for them to accept caste based politics since they look at getting votes across castes and groups (which is slightly different from the caste based groups which are based on getting acceptance from certain caste groups and increasing the caste based politics); the Congress and BJP cannot easily fight such battles, all the more so since they are national parties and any projection with caste based groups in one state can be taken negatively in another state.
The Supreme Court has set a cap on the total amount of reservations, with a total of 50% reservations allowed. This is a limit that caste based parties are not very happy about, with the their projection being that the total number of downtrodden would be much more than 50% of India’s population. However, since the last caste based census was in the census of 1931, there are no accurate figures, and over the years, the Governments have moved away from doing caste based census since that seems like a very regressive measure, given that the aim of the Government is to move away from caste based development, and the development of a casteless society.

But, in order to get over the 50% cap, the caste based groups would need to get a fresh survey done so that their theories about the extent of population in the various caste brackets can be validated. When this demand was raised in Parliament, it was difficult for parties to oppose, since it would deemed as anti-backward, so even parties such as the Congress and the BJP supported the stand. However, it is later that the Congress is finding itself on a sticky wicket; for one, the middle class and upper castes really do not support such measures, further, the Congress is unlikely to find any political benefits from agreeing to including such questions in the census, or from the steps after that. Even the BJP, which was initially supportive, seems to be going back (prodded by the RSS, which does not want any caste based divisions in its support base, it considers all castes as potential members) on its support for such a measures.
So, the Congress is doing what it normally does when it wants an issue buried – it sets up a Group of Ministers to deliberate over the issue, and is likely to take its own sweet time in coming to any consensus, and just to ensure that the time required for taking a decision takes even more time (or never needs to be taken), the party will start with trying to get opinions from other parties on this issue (link to external article):

The Centre decided to seek the views of political parties as there was no consensus among the GoM. “Different opinions were expressed by the ministers. The Group of Ministers will meet further to take a decision on the issue,” Mukherjee, who heads the GoM, said.
At its meeting on July 1, the GoM had failed to come to a conclusion on the politically-sensitive issue of including caste category in the census following which it decided to seek views of political parties.




1 comment to Caste in census: Quick to act, and then slowly starting to realize the full impact of this on their own political future

  • Gangadhar

    There is no need to affarid caste census. It is real India, political parties are opposing becausing they if facts will go to the roots, then they are in danger zone.

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