Calls Intensify for Caste Census Amid Political Debate in Maharashtra

Earlier statements from Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in December 2023 indicated that the government would consider all societal perspectives before making a decision

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In the midst of ongoing political discussions surrounding Maratha and OBC quotas in Maharashtra, Chhagan Bhujbal, a senior NCP minister and founder of Samata Parishad, has advocated strongly for conducting a caste census across India. Following a meeting of the Samata Parishad in Mumbai on Monday, Bhujbal emphasized the potential benefits of such a census, particularly for OBC communities.

“If this census is conducted, it will greatly benefit the OBCs of the country as they will receive substantial funds from the Centre,” stated Bhujbal, highlighting the economic implications for OBCs currently not covered by specific budget allocations similar to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Bhujbal, known for his advocacy on OBC issues, expressed his intention to appeal directly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the implementation of a caste census. “Narendra Modi has become the Prime Minister of the country for the third time. Now we are going to make an appeal to him to conduct a caste census,” he remarked, underscoring the potential insights into OBC demographics and socio-economic conditions.

The demand for a caste census has gained traction within Maharashtra’s political landscape, with leaders from the NCP, including Samata Parishad, and Congress echoing similar sentiments. Last week, NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar also reiterated the necessity for a comprehensive caste census.

In contrast, the BJP, Maharashtra’s ruling party, has yet to clarify its stance on the issue. Historically, census data collection has focused on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for over 150 years, facilitating targeted budgetary allocations for welfare schemes specific to these communities.

Earlier statements from Chief Minister Eknath Shinde in December 2023 indicated that the government would consider all societal perspectives before making a decision on conducting a caste census, reflecting the complex nature of the issue amidst ongoing political deliberations.

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