Other Backward Class (OBC) community leaders from ruling and opposition parties have made a fresh demand for headcount (census). BJP national secretary and former Maharashtra Minister Pankaja Munde on Sunday reminded her party-led government at the Centre that OBC census should be done on a priority basis.
In her tweet Munde said "We are also citizens of this country, count us too. OBC census is necessary and inevitable. Some memories and some promises."
In her second tweet, she noted, "The 2021 census must be caste-wise. There is no doubt that the voice from the villages will reach the national capital."
The BJP leader has also shared an old video of her father and former union minister Gopinath Munde released in 2010. Speaking in Parliament at that time, the veteran BJP leader Gopinath Munde had said, "We are also citizens of this country. All we want is a census of OBCs and ST, SC population. Otherwise, the government will have to face the wrath of these people."
She has reiterated that the upcoming census 2021 should be done caste wise.
Further, the Maharashtra Minister of Relief and Rehabilitation Vijay Wadettiwar, who participated in the morcha at Jalna, Marathwada made a strong case for OBC census. He also warned that OBCs will not tolerate any attempt to touch its 27% quota though he said that community was not against providing reservation to the Maratha community.
The demand by Munde and Wadettiwar are important especially when OBC and Maratha community leaders are currently engaged in a verbal duel over the reservation issue. OBC leaders are strongly opposed to providing reservation to the Maratha community from their 27% quota while a section of Maratha leaders has approached the court seeking reservation from the OBC quota.
Munde’s father had pressed for a separate head-count of OBCs in the population census. He had said from 1872 till 1941, OBCs were counted separately but after that, their identity was merged in the general category. "The Centre fears they will have to extend reservation to OBCs from the current 27 per cent as our population has increased. We are no more 41 per cent of the population but represent 52 per cent now," he noted.
It must be mentioned by exercising the Speaker's rarely invoked power to move a resolution, Maharashtra Assembly Speaker Nana Patole made the members of the house pass a resolution demanding a census of the OBCs in the state.
With this move, Maharashtra became the first state to pass such a resolution in the country. As Prime Minister, V P Singh had implemented OBC reservation in the country in 1990. However, the Centre has rejected the demand for OBC data in Census 2021.