Bengaluru, Oct 3 (IANS): Karnataka government is in a fix over the release of the caste census report which has been kept in abeyance for years by the successive state governments fearing backlash from the influential caste groups in Karnataka.
The Bihar government has released the caste census report few days back.
In Karnataka, the Congress Ministers are pressurising Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to accept the caste census report of the state and render justice to oppressed classes. However, the Chief Minister, who had not antagonised the influential caste groups, especially Vokkaligas and Linagayats is carefully strategising his move ahead of Lok Sabha polls.
Minister for PWD Satish Jarkiholi has said that the caste census has been prepared and is equipped for the release.
“It should be accepted and implemented soon. The previous Siddaramaiah-led Congress government had spent Rs 162 crores to conduct an economic, social and academic census in the state. We are pressurised to implement the report,” he said.
Jarkiholi said that the state government is discussing and after the implementation of the report, it is possible to provide representation to people as per the population and also provide funds in the budget.
“In this background, the implementation of the caste census report is important,” he said.
Congress MLC and senior party leader B.K. Hariprasad speaking to media in New Delhi urged the Chief Minister to show courage to accept the caste census report and take measures accordingly in terms of extending benefits as per the population.
The socio-economic survey popularly known as the caste census was conducted in Karnataka in 2015 by the Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission (KSBCC) headed by H. Kantharaj.
Sources said that the report claims that SC and ST groups form the majority in the state, followed by Muslims. The Lingayats considered to be the highest population were shown as the third largest group and Vokkaligas who were in second position got the fourth position.
The facts created a stir in the state and triggered a huge controversy as the Muslim community was shown as having the second-highest population.
The successive Chief Ministers including B.S. Yediyurappa, H.D. Kumaraswamy and Basavaraj Bommai did not even bother to look into the report not even present Chief Minister during his previous term.
However, with Siddaramaiah back at the helm, the oppressed classes and minorities are hopeful that he will accept the report.
Congress sources said that it is more unlikely that the caste census report will be taken up until the Lok Sabha elections are over. The matter has also taken to the court. Congress had managed to tilt the Vokkaliga community which rallied behind former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda's family to its side in the last assembly elections by projecting Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar as its Vokkaliga face.
The Lingayat votes which firmly stood with BJP and former chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa had also shifted to a large extent towards the Congress after decades.
In such a situation, the Congress, is in a fix over the issue and is treading carefully.