Caste census will further divide society: Murli Manohar

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) Opposing the caste-based census, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Murli Manohar Joshi Friday said this would further divide Indian society.

‘Personally, my view is caste-based census is not good. My opinion is that it will further divide the society,’ Joshi, a former home minister and human resource development minister, told reporters at Parliament Annexe here.

‘Do you want to increase the caste division in the society? The country is already divided,’ he said.

Joshi, however, said this was his personal view and he would present it before the party’s parliamentary board or the national executive. He said there is a debate on the matter in all the political parties and all over the country.

Asked about the party’s deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde’s demand for the caste-based census, he said there are two views in the party on this issue.

Joshi said the government gave an assurance to parliament that it would consider caste-based census due the compulsion of coalition politics.

‘They (the government) have to appease some parties to pass some bills like the nuclear liability bill,’ he said.

For the first time since 1931, the government has said it will consider whether census enumerators will ask people what their caste is, among other things. The cabinet appointed an empowered group of ministers to look into into the demand.

The decision followed vocal demands from Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad who argued that the strength of every caste needed to be known so that their members make use of caste-based quotas in education and employment.

The Yadavs quickly gained the support of other political actors, including BJP’s Munde and the Left parties.