Bengaluru: Politicians fear fallout, 2014 caste census on hold | Azad Times

1 month ago 31
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Azad Times News Desk.

Bengaluru: The report of the State caste census has been kept under wraps because of the politics surrounding it. Leaked findings of the report indicate that Lingayats and Vokkaligas are outnumbered by Dalits and Muslims.

The leaked findings went on to become sensational news in the state and triggered a huge controversy. Lingayats and Vokkaligas who played an important role solely by the numbers, faced the challenge of politically becoming not so relevant.

The politics in State is caste-driven and caste groups, caste seers, especially from Lingayat, Vokkaliga and Kuruba communities play an important role in elections. The seers will also wield greater influence on the successive governments.

The Congress Government led by Siddaramaiah Government in State ordered for Social and Educational Survey in 2014. The Siddaramaiah government maintained that the findings would enable it to take decisions on reservations and quotas in the Other Backward Communities (OBC) category.

The humongous task of conducting a survey of 1.6 crore households in Karnataka was completed. 1.6 lakh personnel went door to door across the state and the task was completed with the government spending Rs 169 crore to complete the task. Bharat Electronics limited was given the task of digitising the work.

The Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission Chairperson H. Kantharaj monitored the survey. Somehow, the report is not presented before the cabinet and sources say it is lying with the member secretary of the commission. Kantharaj’s tenure ended in 2019 and presently the commission is headed by Jayaprakash Hegde.

Insiders explain that the politicians belonging to Lingayat and Vokkaliga communities from all three political parties want to bury the report. Siddaramaiah, who got the survey done for the first time in the country since 1935, was not able to accept and reveal the findings of the report.

After Siddaramaiah, his successor H.D. Kumaraswamy of JD(S) came to power and the coalition government did not bother to look into the issue. Congress leaders started vehemently demanding for making the findings of caste survey public when BJP grabbed power.

Siddaramaiah, the Leader of Opposition, charged and challenged BJP to make the caste census public. He also attacked Kumaraswamy. Former chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Kumaraswamy chided Siddaramaiah as to why he did not do the job. Siddaramaiah in turn questioned them that he accepts that he couldn’t release the report and why they are not interested?

The heated exchange of words over the issue lasted for a few months. As the state is heading to general assembly elections in less than two months, all political parties are tight-lipped on the caste census. No one wants to antagonise any community, especially Lingayats and Vokkaligas in the state, sources explain.

Kota Srinivas Poojari, Minister for Social Welfare, stated that the ball is in the court of Backwards Commission. It has to submit the report first and then the ruling BJP government can decide over it.

Former Chairperson of the Commission C.S. Dwarakanath has demanded several times that since a huge amount of Rs 168 crore had been spent on the caste census, it should be made public. Siddaramaiah had charged ruling BJP that it is deliberately not accepting the report. BJP has maintained that the issue is being raised only to get political mileage.

The politics surrounding caste census is intriguing in progressive states like Karnataka. The progressive thinkers and political experts opine that the government’s programme which cost Rs 168 crore to the exchequer is being victim of politicking.

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Azad Times.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a Syndicated Feed and has not been created or edited By Azad Times Staff.

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