Close on the heels of Bihar Chief Minister leading a delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi pressing for a caste-based census, the ruling Biju Janata Dal in Odisha Tuesday announced plans to launch a massive agitation demanding the same.
According to a report by PTI, Two senior BJD Ministers R P Swain and A K Sahoo said party activists will carry out the agitation from the village level to the national capital seeking a caste-based census which they claimed will provide justice to people belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBCs).
OBCs constitute about 54 per cent of the state’s population.
The regional outfit led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had been demanding a caste-based census and removal of 50 per cent ceiling on the reservation for a long time which had earlier been rejected by the Centre, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had led an all-party delegation from the state to meet PM Modi on Monday demanding caste-based enumeration in the upcoming census.
“This census will not only help Odisha, but the entire country,” Swain, a senior BJD leader and state Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister said.
The BJD minister observed that unless there is proper data on the exact numbers of OBC or Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) people in the coastal state, it will be difficult to formulate welfare schemes for the OBCs, who constitute about 54 per cent of the state’s population.
“The caste-based census will help in collecting information on people belonging to OBCs who have been so far kept away from the purview of development,” Swain said, adding that its implementation will help ensure justice for the backward caste people.
He called upon all political parties, including the BJP, to join Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s clarion call for a caste-based census.
State Agriculture Minister A K Sahoo said that the demand for the lifting of a 50 per cent ceiling on reservation and a caste-based census are two sides of a coin.