Amid the intensifying debate around the caste-based census pushed by the opposition parties and its prominence in the upcoming assembly elections in five states, Union Home Minister Amit Shah clarified the BJP’s stance. He stated that the BJP has never opposed the idea of a caste-based census and will decide on it after internal discussions within the party.
Speaking during the unveiling of the party’s manifesto for the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections in Raipur, Shah emphasized that the BJP does not engage in politics driven by appeasement for votes. He further explained, “We will take an appropriate decision (on caste census) after holding discussions (within the party). The BJP never opposed a caste census, but decisions have to be taken after giving it a lot of thought.”
Meanwhile, in a press conference in Bhopal, BJP leader and former Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad took a swipe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, suggesting that he had not done his homework on the issue of caste-based census. Prasad noted that Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders, such as Kamal Nath and Digvijaya Singh, had taken up the issue.
Prasad commented on the recent findings of the inaugural caste-based census in Bihar and highlighted alleged flaws in the process, including concerns about the rights of extremely backward people. He argued that the classification of Muslims as forward, backward, and extremely backward was a first in the country’s history.
Additionally, Prasad pointed out that the BJP had a significant number of MPs from backward classes, with the highest number of MLAs belonging to the OBC and extremely backward categories. He highlighted the Prime Minister’s OBC background and the diverse representation within the party, including individuals from Dalit and Adivasi communities.
The ongoing debate around caste-based census has been amplified by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who has been critiquing the BJP for what he perceives as inadequate representation of OBCs in secretary-level positions at the central government.