Caste in census: BJP differs with RSS

In a rare instance, BJP has differed with RSS over supporting inclusion of caste in Census, an idea still opposed by the Sangh fount-head.

New Delhi: In a rare instance, BJP has
differed with RSS over supporting inclusion of caste in
Census, an idea still opposed by the Sangh fount-head.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj today
said her letter to Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the Group of
Ministers on the issue, giving BJP`s assent to "canvassing of
caste" in Census followed discussions with the RSS.

"BJP had discussed the inclusion of Caste in Census
issue with the RSS. We went ahead with our decision despite
disagreement with RSS on the issue," Swaraj said.

The BJP had given its point of view on why it favoured
inclusion of caste in Census. While RSS is vehemently opposed
to the idea as it feels India is one nation and there should
be no divisions on basis of caste, creed, language, race or
religion, it found the idea of including only caste--and not
categories like OBC--in Census more palatable, sources said.
The Sangh felt that enumerating caste under OBC
category, as is done for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe,
would create more rift in society.

BJP President Nitin Gadkari himself discussed the issue
with RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat and conveyed the party view.

While the RSS did not object to BJP going ahead with
the opinion, it still remains opposed to the idea as far as
its own functioning is concerned.

Bhagwat reportedly said yesterday that he does not
support inclusion of caste in Census.

Earlier, two BJP leaders Sumitra Mahajan and Raghunandan
Sharma had met RSS leaders and later conveyed to the party
that the Sangh was agreeable to the party giving its
affirmation to inclusion of caste but its own views were
unchanged.

Swaraj wrote to Mukherjee on Friday to give BJP`s
consent to the government`s query on whether it agreed that
canvassing of caste should be done in a manner that does not
affect the integrity of the headcount (census).

By answering in the affirmative to this, BJP has now
put the onus of ensuring that integrity of headcount is not
affected, on the government.

-PTI

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