CWC unanimously supports idea of caste census, PM Modi incapable of holding census: Rahul

IANS Photo

New Delhi, October 9 (IANS) Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday said the Congress Working Committee (CWC) -- the party's highest decision making body -- has unanimously decided in favour of caste-based census and the party-led governments in states will hold the exercise.

Addressing a press conference here at the party headquarters, Gandhi said: "We discussed caste census for four hours. We have a historic discussion. It was a unanimous decision. No one in the meeting was there who opposed it. The CWC has decided unanimously to support caste census in the country. It is a powerful progressive step for the emancipation of the poor in the country.”

He said that the Chief Ministers (Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot) sitting here have also said that they will take the caste census forward in the states.

It is worth to be noted that Rajasthan on Saturday night announced to hold the caste based survey.

To a question if Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) parties are together and will they support the caste-based census, he said: "The Congress has decided that it will wholeheartedly support the caste census and force the BJP to hold the caste census and if they fail then they should go as the country wants it and we will do it after coming to power."

"Most of the INDIA parties support it. There might be a few who have slightly different opinions. But I am confident that the vast majority will support it. We are not fascist force and will not force them," he said.

To a question about Prime Minister Narendra Modi accusing the Congress of dividing the country, he said: "The Prime Minister is making unconnected statements. The Prime Minister is incapable of doing caste-based census. Congress has four chief ministers, out of that three are OBCs, while BJP has 10 CMs. How many BJP chief ministers are from the OBC category? They have one OBC which will not be there after elections in Madhya Pradesh. The Prime Minister doesn't work for the OBCs but to distract them from main issues. "

The Congress leader's remark comes on a day the Election Commission announced the dates for assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram.

The CWC's resolution on supporting caste census comes days after the Bihar government, of which Congress is a part of, released the caste census survey report.

The survey revealed that the extremely backward classes (EBC) comprise 36.01 per cent of the population, the backward classes 27.12 per cent and the general category 15.52 per cent of the covered population.

He said, "The Prime Minister did not utter a single word after what I mentioned in Parliament that out of 90 only three are OBC officers.

"The Prime Minister should say that we will release the caste-based census and he should say that the next census will be caste based. But he does not have the guts. He has created a distraction system. PM Modi is the main instrument and they only want to divert the issue," he added.

He further said that the decision was not motivated by considerations of religion or caste, rather it was made to benefit the financially disadvantaged people of India.

To a question if the party will face a litmus test in assembly elections of five states have been announced and the Rajasthan government already announcing it will it have any impact, the Lok Sabha MP from Kerala’s Wayanad said: “These words (litmus test) are in chemistry and not in politics. We have decided that for future of India caste census is required it will open a new paradigm. We have decided that Congress will take it.”

To a question about the Prime Minister accusing the Congress of dividing the country on the caste and religion lines, Rahul Gandhi slammed him saying: “Prime Minister Modi wants to divide the country. Our motto is that x-ray (caste based census) should be done. For example, if someone gets hurt then x-ray is done to identify the cause. We want the x-ray (caste census) to be done. Why Modiji is fearing to hold the x-ray. This is not about dividing but giving the rights to the people.”

“Why is he fearing? He is only talking to distract. Not in a single speech he has said what I said in Parliament. His aim is something else. His aim is to distract.”

“This is not a political decision. But we are talking about the rights of people and we will give that with our decision. Poor will get their rights,” the Congress leader said.

He also said that after the caste based census, economic survey will also be carried out.

“Through caste-based census, we will get the data of the people. After that how much wealth and assets of the country are in the hands of the people. How much participation of people from OBC, SC, ST, Dalit in the institutions and the government jobs and the assets of the country will be done.

On the poll panel announcing the schedule for the assembly elections, Rahul Gandhi said: “I feel that we will do well in the elections. There is anger in people over inflation, unemployment. Our governments have done work for the people. Caste census is our foundation. What Rajasthan has done we will do nationally.”

“The vision of fear and hatred given by Modi and the BJP, we will replace it with love and development,” he said.