Leaders from the politically influential Other Backward Classes (OBC) from all parties joined hands together on Friday demanding census for the OBCs in Maharashtra.
The demand was made by a veteran OBC leader and NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal in the state assembly a day after the Bihar state assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution favouring a caste-based Census in 2021.
Incidentally, Bhujbal received support not only from the members of ruling MVA but also from all opposition parties.
Bhujbal said the demand for OBC census has been made since 1990. ''OBCs constitute 54% of the India's population. The OBC census is therefore required,'' he added.
Bhujbal received support from the leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis saying that his party, BJP, is ready to be a part of an all party delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi for OBC census. Incidentally, he said PM Modi himself comes from the OBC community.
Minister of Housing and another OBC leader Jitendra Awhad suggested that even though the Centre was not prepared for the OBC census then it should be held in Maharashtra.
Legislators' demand for OBC census comes on the heels of the resolution unanimously passed by the state assembly on January 8 urging the Centre for a caste-based Census to find out the population of OBCs across the country. The resolution was moved suo moto by the Speaker Nana Patole.
However, the Centre has rejected the state’s demand for a caste-based census to find out the population of the Other Backward Classes (OBC).
The Centre through its letter dated February 17 said as per the central list, total number of OBCs in the country is 6,285, while the number goes up to 7,200 if the list is prepared by the states, and Union Territories are taken into account.
Since the people use their clan, gotra, sub-castes and caste names interchangeably, and the due to the phonetic similarities in the names, it may lead to the misclassification of the castes.
Further, the Centre said the enumeration of OBCs, Socially and Educationally Backward Classes will adversely affect the integrity of Census exercise and hence it has not been taken up in 2021 census.