Caste can be asked but ensure count’s integrity: BJP

August 6th, 2010 - 11:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday told the Group of Ministers (GoM) on caste census that the party was not against caste being canvassed in the ongoing census but it should be done in a manner that integrity of the headcount is not affected.
In a letter to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the GoM, senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said that the party had already clarified in parliament that it was not opposed to the proposal.

“The BJP had already clarified its stand in the Lok Sabha. The party reiterates that caste can be canvassed in the ongoing census/NPR (national population register) exercise. We agree that the caste should be canvassed in such a manner and at such stage that it does not affect the integrity of the headcount,” Swaraj said in the letter.

BJP spokesman Tarun Vijay earlier told IANS that the party was not against caste enumeration.

“We oppose casteist politics. But caste has become an important fact in the political system,” he said, adding that there was no harm in a caste enumeration.

The BJP had taken a similar stand during the budget session of parliament when a demand was made by parties such as Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal-United.

Vijay added that the party had questions about the methodology that may be used for enumeration.

The GoM, at its meeting July 1, decided to elicit opinion of political parties on the issue in four weeks.

Congress leaders said the party was considering the option of not giving its opinion on a caste-based census to the GoM and the party was likely to go by the stand of the government on the issue.

Leaders in the Congress and the BJP have spoken on divergent lines on caste-based census.

While BJP leader Gopinath Munde has favoured a caste headcount, party leader Murli Manohar Joshi has expressed reservations over the move. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has opposed a caste-based census.

Law and Justice Minister M. Veerapa Moily has favoured caste-based census while his Congress colleague and Minister of State for Home Ajay Maken has opposed it.

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