Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) [India], October 6 (ANI): The Andhra Pradesh Backward Classes (BC) Welfare Association on Wednesday held agitation in Vijayawada, demanding caste-based census for other backward castes (OBCs).
Speaking to ANI, K Sankara Rao, President, Andhra Pradesh Backward Classes (BC) Welfare Association said, "The oppressed communities including OBCs and MBCs (most backward castes) of the country have been losing politically, socially and financially. So, the caste-based census should be held in the country."
Urging the Centre to take up a caste-based census, Rao said that apart from chief ministers of many states, a total of 18 political parties are asking for a caste census across the country.
"Caste census was taken up in 1931 during the then British rulers. Almost 90 years had passed now. So, there is no problem with the OBC caste census. Therefore, we request the government to take up the OBC caste census. The chief ministers of six states have passed resolutions and sent them to the central government regarding the issue, but it still remained adamant," he added.
He further said that the Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy has constituted a village volunteers system, so the caste census should be conducted and those details should be sent to the Centre.
During the agitation, the association also claimed that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had given the primary nod for the caste-based census when Rajnath Singh was Home Minister, but the same government is stepping back from the promise.
"Prior to NDA government, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has also decided in favour of caste census but that was not implemented," it added.
Further, it demanded the YSRCP-led government in the state to use the village volunteer mechanism it has introduced in the state, to collect the data of caste wise OBC population.
Demanding the resolution to be passed in this regard in the forthcoming assembly session, the welfare association president said that chief minister Reddy should send a delegation of all political parties to Delhi and mount pressure on the central government for the caste-based census.
Communist Party of India (CPI) State Secretary K Ramakrishna who also participated in the agitation today said that the ruling and opposition parties of Bihar assembly led by Nitish Kumar and Tejaswi Yadav have met the President of India and submitted a memorandum on this.
"Even at the national council meeting of CPI recently held at Delhi, we demanded this caste census. The central and state government will take up the issue. They will implement some social programs and welfare programs. So we demand, on behalf of all political parties particularly left parties, the central government to go for a caste census," Ramakrishna said.
State BJP representative Vamaraju Satyamurty also participated in the agitation, along with Andhra BC Welfare Association and CPI. He expressed solidarity with the demand and said that "backward castes vary from state to state, so the state government should take initiative for the backward classes caste-based census."
Various parties including the Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, among others have raised the demand for the caste-based census.
Recently, the Central government submitted an affidavit in the Supreme court saying that the census of backward classes is "administratively difficult" and will suffer both on account of completeness and accuracy.
The Centre, in an affidavit in the Supreme Court said the exclusion of any caste other than Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe from the purview of the upcoming 2021 Census is a "conscious policy decision" taken by the Central government.
The affidavit of the Central government was filed on a plea of the Maharashtra government asking to share census data of OBCs collected by the Centre in 2011-2013. (ANI)