New Delhi: Cornered by the opposition over the issue of farm protests in Lakhimpur Kheri and on its reluctance to conduct caste-based census, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not willing to take any chances ahead of the Uttar Pradesh elections.
The Other Backward Classes (OBC) Morcha of the BJP is all set to hold ‘intellectual meets’ across the country from 22 October to inform people of the welfare measures undertaken by the Modi government for the OBCs and the reasons for not holding caste-based census.
“The demand for a caste-based census is completely politically motivated. The caste-based census exercise the Congress did is full of administrative errors. We want to have a dialogue with various stakeholders including intellectuals, academicians, people from all walks of society and inform them about the reasons for not conducting such a census and the difficulty in doing such an exercise,” K. Laxman, chief of BJP’s OBC Morcha, told ThePrint.
“At the same time the work that has been done by the Modi government for the welfare of the OBCs will be discussed in detail,” he added.
The meet will first be held in Delhi and after that, it will be held in all major cities including in Uttar Pradesh, Laxman said.
According to sources, Union minister Bhupender Yadav is likely to be part of the Delhi meet.
With assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh set to take place early next year, the Opposition has already made caste census a major issue. “You see states are free to conduct their own caste-based exercise. They can’t do population census but they can definitely conduct a caste-based exercise,” Laxman added.
‘Can’t allow Oppn to spread misinformation’
BJP members said they are concentrating on highlighting the measures taken for the welfare of OBCs.
“OBC vote can make and break us. As per our estimate, the OBC population is around 40-50 per cent. Also, non-Yadav OBCs constitute at least 35 per cent of the state’s total population. So we can’t allow the opposition to spread misinformation about the demand for a caste-based census. These meetings that will be held across the country will help in building the right narrative,” said a senior BJP leader.
The Modi government had earlier told the Supreme Court that population census is not the ideal instrument for collection of details on caste and ruled out the possibility of a caste-based census through the latest Census exercise.
Apart from Opposition parties, BJP allies, including Nitish Kumar and Apna Dal’s Anupriya Patel, have also been demanding a caste census.
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