Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash
Singh Badal today opposed the inclusion of caste in census,
citing the teachings of the Sikh Gurus espousing "a class-less
and caste-less" society.
"We are against any `jaat-paat` (caste system). The
(Sikh) Gurus gave the message that everyone was equal and
Sarbat Da Bala (may everyone be blessed)," the ruling
Shiromani Akali Dal patriarch said at a press conference here.
Asked whether inclusion of caste in census will
tantamount to promoting casteism in society, Badal said, "we
should all come together for the country`s development".
Interestingly, SAD ally, the BJP, is divided on
whether caste data should be included in the census while the
RSS has clearly stated that it is opposed to the idea arguing
that it will lead to further divisions in society.
When pointed out that BJP President Nitin Gadkari
recently had talked about inter-linking of river waters, Badal
said, "our (SAD) stand has always been clear on this. We
favour riparian rights, according to which the state has full
ownership rights over the water bodies which it has".
On the reported statement made by senior BJP leader
and Punjab Industries Minister Manoranjan Kalia recently that
a state`s natural resources should be treated a national
asset, Badal evaded a direct reply and said, "we have always
maintained that the Centre should give the states more powers
and autonomy. Because it is the states that are directly
answerable to the people".