BJP having reservations on support to caste census?

Last Updated: Saturday, June 12, 2010 - 15:51

Patna: With internal differences persisting
and RSS taking a strong line against it, BJP on Saturday appeared to
be having reservations on its support to inclusion of caste in
census.

"We believe in a strong nation. We have put forth our
view in Parliament...Why you are asking us when the stand of
the central government is itself not clear," party general
secretary Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.

Answering a volley of questions seeking clarity on the
party`s stand on the ticklish issue, Prasad`s refrain was, "we
believe in a strong nation. We have put forth our view in
Parliament".

He was briefing reporters on the presidential address of
party chief Nitin Gadkari to the BJP National Executive which
began here.

At the fag end of the Budget session of Parliament, the
Lok Sabha had witnessed a debate on the issue of inclusion of
caste in census and several BJP leaders including its deputy
leader Gopinath Munde had favoured such an inclusion to
further the cause of social justice and empowerment.

The Yadav trio -- Lalu Prasad, Mulayam Singh and Sharad
Yadav -- were in the forefront of the demand for such an
inclusion following which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had
assured a decision in the light of the discussion.

However, there was no mention of the issue in Gadkari`s
presidential address.

Senior leaders like Murli Manohar Joshi had expressed
reservations on inclusion of caste in census. Joshi, who was
of the view that inclusion of caste would "disintegrate" the
society, had said he would raise the issue at the National
Executive.

The former HRD Minister had insisted that caste census
would not solve any problem and it was not the right thing to
do, particularly when the country is facing several other
problems.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had also expressed the Sangh`s
opposition to the move.

Earlier in the day, senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar
sought to dispel reports of differences in BJP on the issue,
saying that there is no confusion in the party.

"There is no confusion on the issue of inclusion of caste
in census within BJP. It is for Congress to explain its
position on the issue," he said, adding Congress was "rather
confused" over it.

The issue has also seen division in the Union Cabinet.
The Prime Minister has recently constituted a Group of
Ministers headed by Pranab Mukheree to look into the matter.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, June 12, 2010 - 15:51

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