After Rahul’s dare, Congress prez Kharge writes to PM to publish caste census

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Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge warned that the absence of such a data could impact meaningful social justice and empowerment programmes, particularly for OBCs

The Congress has doubled down its pressure on the central government with back-to-back demands of the caste census- first by Rahul Gandhi, who dared the government on Sunday to publish the 2011 caste census data followed by party president Mallikarjun Kharge who wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi the same day warning that the absence of such a data could impact “meaningful social justice and empowerment programmes, particularly for OBCs.”

“You (PM Modi) are aware that for the first time the UPA Government conducted a Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) during 2011-12 covering some 25 crore households. For a number of reasons, however, the caste data could not get published even though Congress and other MPs demanded its release after your government came to power in May 2014. In the absence of an updated Caste Census, I am afraid a reliable database so very essential for meaningful social justice and empowerment programmes, particularly for OBCs, is incomplete,” Kharge said in his letter.

The Congress President further reminded the Union government that the last case census slated to be done by 2021 was postponed. “We demand that it be done immediately,” Kharge said. He made his letter public through Twitter on Monday.

On Sunday, addressing a poll rally in Karnataka’s Kola, Rahul Gandhi attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party accusing the Centre of hiding the caste census carried out by the UPA government in 2011 and disrespecting the reserved communities.

His comments came in his first visit to the poll-bound state after he was disqualified as a Member of Parliament (MP) last month after his conviction in a criminal defamation case over his remark on the ‘Modi’ surname made in the same district ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election. The BJP had alleged that he had disrespected the OBC community through his remark.

Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) is a comprehensive study of the socio-economic status of rural and urban households. Additionally, SECC includes a caste census, which provides information on the caste composition of the population. A colonial practice that was discontinued after 1931 was again conducted in 2011 after the approval of the Manmohan Singh-led Congress government.