Parivar divided over caste-based census

Sharp differences have emerged in the Sangh Parivar on caste-based census, with BJP president Nitin Gadkari coming out in the open against the idea, arguing that a caste-based census may not be desirable. Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde had argued in the House last week that the country "needed a caste-based census" following which Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj had said "this was the party's position on the issue as well".

The RSS has now jumped into the fray, with the editorial in the latest issue of Organiser arguing that "our only identity is Indian nationality" but "in the last two decades the politicians have revived casteism and now it has become a political agenda". The RSS organ, in its latest issue, has further argued that "government policies, reservation benefits and economic interests have perpetuated the caste system", and that "caste often undermines a collective Hindu personality".

Referring to Gadkari's statement on the issue at a press conference in Shimla a couple of days ago, BJP vice-president Shanta Kumar told The Indian Express on Tuesday that "the party president said we (the party) are against any caste-based census".

"We are, in principle, against a caste-based census. This would also be the broad view in the wider Sangh Parivar. But the BJP is also firm that it shall not be opposed to the idea of caste-based census if OBC groups decide that they would settle for nothing less than a caste-based census," said a senior party leader.

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