Government dragging its feet on caste census: Sharad Yadav

New Delhi, July 9 (Calcutta Tube) Janata Dal-United (JD-U) president Sharad Yadav Friday said he was ‘pained’ that despite political agreement on a caste census the government had set up a ministerial panel on it, which he described as ‘another delaying tactic’.

Yadav wrote a letter to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee Thursday saying that there was an agreement on caste based census between various political parties in the budget session of parliament. Mukerjee heads the Group of Ministers (GoM) on the caste census.

‘I am writing this letter with a sense of pain. I would not like to repeat what transpired between us when parliament was on and we were discussing the census. I just want to remind you that there was an agreement on caste census,’ Yadav said.

Yadav said political consensus on caste census had already been achieved in parliament and the government should make its position clear without delay.

‘The government must state in clear terms whether it wants to respect the opinion of the Lok Sabha or not,’ he said.

The JD-U leader, who is convenor of the National Democratic Alliance, said the government had given an assurance for caste census at a meeting attended by allies of the Congress including the DMK, Nationalist Congress Party and Trinamool Congress besides the Bharatiya Janata Party.

He also suggested that the government should form a commission to eradicate caste system after a headcount of castes was done in the census.

In his letter, Yadav said the prime minister had told parliament that the government will take into account the sentiments of the members while taking a decision on caste census in the cabinet.

‘The government had almost announced that there would be caste census…. unfortunately, the government is dragging its feet over this issue.’

Yadav said caste census did not come up in several cabinet meetings after the budget session and when it did come up, the government decided to form a GoM on the issue.

Terming the formation of GoM as unwarranted, Yadav said it had ‘wasted many days’ and has now decided to seek the views of various political parties.

‘This is yet another delaying tactic by the government. Almost all political parties have given their views in the Lok Sabha.’

Indicating that the issue will be raised in the monsoon session of parliament, Yadav said there was no scope of further deliberation on caste census and he was shocked at the attitude of the government.

‘We are shocked at the attitude of the government which does not seem to respect the agreement reached during the census debate… Such act on the part of the government is nothing but going against the wishes of the Lok Sabha,’ he said.

Yadav said the government was being ‘misguided’ by the opinion of some ‘self-styled intellectuals’.

‘They are the same people who ask for caste data whenever the issue of quota comes up,’ he said.

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