BSP supremo Mayawati said on Tuesday that the Uttar Pradesh government should conduct a caste survey right away, adding that though some political parties are against it, it is the only way to ensure justice for the Other Backward Classes (OBC).
With a caste survey report released in neighbouring Bihar, the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Congress have demanded a similar exercise in Uttar Pradesh. BSP supremo Mayawati said on Tuesday that the Uttar Pradesh government should conduct a caste survey right away, adding that though some political parties are against it, it is the only way to ensure justice for the Other Backward Classes (OBC).
SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, BJP ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) and the Congress have also pressed for a similar head count to figure out the numbers of different castes in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere. The state unit of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not commented on the issue.
“The data of the caste census conducted by the Bihar government being made public is in the news today and intense discussions are going on about it. Some parties are definitely uncomfortable with this, but for the BSP, this is the first step in the long struggle for the constitutional rights of OBCs,” Mayawati said on X.
She said the BSP is happy that the country’s politics is taking a new turn in favour of the neglected “Bahujan Samaj”, as a consequence of which even the most extreme “anti-caste” and “anti-Mandal” sects have become worried over their future.
The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said although the state government should start a caste census or survey immediately in accordance with the sentiment of the public, “the right solution will be found only when the Centre conducts the caste census at the national level and gives them their due rights”.
The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar released the findings of its much-awaited caste survey on Monday, months ahead of the 2024 parliamentary election, which revealed that OBCs and EBCs (Economically Backward Classes) constitute 63 per cent of the state’s population. Following the release of the caste survey report in Bihar, Yadav said the BJP-led Centre should leave politics aside and conduct a nationwide caste census.
“Bihar caste-based census published: This is the mathematical basis of social justice. The caste census will not open a new path of 85-15 conflict but of cooperation. And those who are not domineering, but are supporters of everyone’s rights, they support it and welcome it. Those who really want to guarantee rights get a caste census done. The BJP government should leave politics aside and conduct a nationwide caste census,” the SP chief said on X.
“When people come to know how many they are (in numbers), a self-confidence awakens among them and also consciousness against social injustice, due to which their unity increases and they overcome the obstacles in the way of their progress.
“(They) create new paths and end the injustices done by the powers that be and the traditional powerful people of the society. With this, the society moves on the path of equality and the country develops in an integrated manner. A caste census is the path to the country’s progress,” the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister added.
Now, it is certain that the “PDA” will decide the direction of future politics, he said. Yadav has coined the term “PDA” to speak for the “Peechda” (backward), Dalit (oppressed) and “Alpsankhyak” (minority). Union minister and Apna Dal (S) president Anupriya Patel has also demanded a caste census and the constitution of an “OBC ministry”, saying it is the need of the hour.
Addressing a programme in Rae Bareli on Monday, she said her party was “always in favour of a caste census”. The Apna Dal (S) is a member of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Uttar Pradesh Congress spokesperson Manish Hindvi said his party is of the view that a caste census should be conducted across the country. “The time has come to take everyone forward. Our party feels that a caste census is necessary and should be done in the entire country,” he said.
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