Maharashtra: RSS Opposes Caste-Based Census Amid Growing Advocacy By Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi

Maharashtra: RSS Opposes Caste-Based Census Amid Growing Advocacy By Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi

The Bihar government has been the first to conduct such a census, and Rahul Gandhi has been promoting the count, especially to ensure electoral support from some communities.

Ramu BhagwatUpdated: Tuesday, December 19, 2023, 08:54 PM IST
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RSS | PTI

Nagpur: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh does not favour a caste-based census, as it believes that any such move would further divide Indian society. This stance was conveyed unequivocally to the ruling BJP and Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) party legislators during their annual visit to the RSS facility at Reshimbagh on Tuesday. Memorials of RSS founder and first Sarsanghchalak Keshav Baliram Hedgewar and his successor MS Golwalkar stand at Reshimbagh in east Nagpur.

The RSS's position comes at a time when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been vociferously campaigning for a caste-based census to address the growing clamour among several communities to be declared socially backward, aiming to garner benefits of reservation in jobs and education. The Bihar government has been the first to conduct such a census, and Rahul Gandhi has been promoting the count, especially to ensure electoral support from some communities.

RSS' stance is in contrast to that of Amit Shah & Fadnavis

The RSS's view on the subject is in total variance with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, as well as Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who have recently stated that the BJP is not averse to undertaking a caste-based census if necessary. The OBCs as a group prominently support the demand for a caste census, claiming that the 27 per cent quota they currently receive is far less in proportion to the total population of OBCs in the country.

"The RSS has always worked for social equality. If caste divides society, any move to go deeper in identifying castes would cause further schism. Such a count would do more harm than good to the nation," said Shridhar Ghadge, Vidarbha Pranth Pramukh of the RSS, while briefing state legislators. He briefed them on issues like social equality, caste-based census, family values, swadesh, and environment protection. Admitting that caste discrimination still exists, Ghadge said a caste census would further divide rather than bring social unity.

Ajit Pawar faction does not visit Reshimbagh

Ever since the BJP has been part of the ruling dispensation in the state, the ruling party's legislators attending the Winter Session here have been visiting Reshimbagh to pay homage to Hedgewar and Golwalkar. This year, most of the BJP legislators and some of the Sena (Shinde) were present at the annual visit. The Ajit Pawar faction, which is part of the Mahayuti - a three-party coalition, kept away from the event, making it clear that the party is keen to maintain its secular ideology. Surprisingly, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and his deputy Fadnavis were also absent, ostensibly due to preoccupation with legislative work.

Asked about the absence of Ajit Pawar faction legislators and some from the Shinde faction, an RSS functionary said the visit by MLAs and MLCs of BJP and its allies was just a courtesy visit, and there was no compulsion or invitation for them to visit the RSS chief's memorial. Besides Ghadge and RSS city unit chief Rajesh Loya, a few other functionaries were present to greet and brief the legislators.

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