The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has demanded a caste-based census. “The caste-based census will help in collecting information on people belonging to Other Backward Classes (OBC), who has been so far kept away from the purview of development,” said senior BJD leader Ranendra Pratap Swain.
“Caste-based census will ensure justice to the backward caste people. So all political parties in the State should join Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s clarion call for the caste-based census," he said.
Swain said that hike in reservation and caste census are two sides of a coin. “Many political parties and Chief Minister has extended their supports to Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik. NDA alliance has also extended their support to Naveen Pattnaik. Such as Nitish Kumar (JDU), Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal, Jitan Ram Manjhi of Hindusatn Awami Morcha(HAM), Mukesh Saini of VIP, Sanjay Nishank, Om Prakash Rajvar, A Ramdas Athwale of RPI, Pashupati Paras of LJP, AKhilesh Yadav of Samajwadi Party are the most vocal in support of the caste-based census," he added.
BJD leader Arun Sahoo said, “The silence of BJP on the caste-based census is showing their apathy towards other backward classes."
He said that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is committed to giving justice to OBCs in Odisha. The demand for the caste-based census is gaining momentum in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh also.
Responding to the BJD’s allegation, State BJP General Secretary Golak Mohapatra said that “BJD has not shown its interest for the development of OBC. All activities of BJD are only meant for the announcement. The State government does not provide reservation on education and employment."
Congress MLA Suresh Kumar Routray said that “Congress support caste-based census. But it should not be politicised. The State government should take all the necessary steps for the development of backwards classes”.