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Caste Census: A New Avatar of Mandal Politics

Caste Census
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Ground Report | New Delhi: Caste Census; The monsoon session of Parliament was almost in the name of uproar. The Lok Sabha has adjourned two days ago while the monsoon session was to end on July 13. But the debate on the 127th Constitution Amendment Bill, 2021 before the end of the monsoon session signals a new change in the country’s politics.

The English newspaper The Hindu has published a news analysis in this regard. The 127th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2021 was passed unanimously in both houses of the Parliament. No party opposed this bill.

There is a growing demand for a caste-based census from within political parties. Allies of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are also demanding this. The Hindu wrote in its analysis, “This suggests that the OBC population is large and the 50 percent limit of the reservation may be violated.

Caste Census

The demand for breaking the 50 percent limit on caste-based census and reservation has been described by ‘The Hindu’ as the third incarnation of Mandal politics. It is being said that this third incarnation of Mandal politics is about to knock.

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The regional parties that emerged after the Mandal Commission came into force in the 1990s are raising these demands vigorously.

The Hindu wrote in its analysis, “In the last few elections, especially in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, these regional parties have seen successful election campaigns of the BJP under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Shifting the dominant castes in OBCs to them Forming a powerful alliance of upper castes and non-dominant castes in the OBC-SCs has been a key election strategy of the BJP.

“Given ticket distribution, ministerial appointments, and some legislative interventions, the BJP seems to have taken a new form of Mandal politics. The BJP has also kept the politics of Hindutva under this management.

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Caste-based socioeconomic status in the 2011 Census

“The details of caste-based socioeconomic status in the 2011 Census were not released by the Modi government. Also, the G Rohini Commission, which was set up to look into the status of less influential castes on the reservation in jobs and education. Institutions within the OBCs have also not been reported, while the commission has been given 11 extensions since its formation in 2017.

Among the regional parties, there is a demand from the Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, and Nationalist Congress Party that the BJP should give the correct number of OBCs and then increase the limit of 50 percent reservation. If BJP does not accept this then it will be easy for them to say that BJP is cheating other backward castes when it came to power with its own votes.

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Apart from this, Mandalwadi parties are pointing to sub-categorization in the 10% reservation given to economically backward people in general castes. Regional parties have tried to send out a clear message that the steps taken by the BJP on OBCs have been balanced to keep the upper castes in its favour. The BJP has a large number of OBC MPs, but the sentiments of the upper castes have not been neglected, especially in Uttar Pradesh, where their vote share is around 18-20 percent.

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Difficult situation for BJP

The Hindu has written that this is a complicated situation for the BJP. Party MPs say that the sub-categorization regarding reservation in jobs can be improved. A former Union minister and sitting MP of the newspaper said that this is an inevitable situation. It would be good if the party takes some steps. There is speculation that the 2021 census may be caste-based. It may take some time for the BJP to deal with this complex demand so that social engineering can be done in its favour.

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