Mumbai: Leaders from the politically influential Other Backward Classes (OBC) from all parties joined hands and demanded census for the OBCs in Maharashtra on Friday.
Veteran OBC leader and NCP Minister Chhagan Bhujbal in the state assembly initiated the demand. It was notably 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 explained.
Chhagan BhujbalBhujbal 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 to push for the demand. Fadnavis scored a political point pointing that PM Modi also himself hails from the OBC community.
Minister of Housing and another OBC leader Jitendra Awhad suggested that even if the centre is not prepared for the OBC census, Maharashtra should still go ahead and conduct it.
The Legislators' demand for OBC census also comes close on the heels of the resolution unanimously passed by the state assembly on January 8 urging the Centre for a caste-based Census.
The aim of such a census is to ascertain the population of OBCs across the country. Speaker Nana Patole had moved this resolution suo moto.
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 a wrong classification 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.
Meanwhile the issue is expected to simmer in the coming days.