Davangere: Veteran BJP leader B S Yediyurappa on Sunday said state’s Socio-Economic and Education Survey, popularly known as the “caste census,” was not done systematically, and urged the Congress government in Karnataka to get a fresh survey done and present the facts before the people.
Karnataka’s two dominant communities — Vokkaliags and Lingayats — too have expressed disapproval about the survey, calling it unscientific, and have demanded that it be rejected and a fresh survey to be conducted.
“There is a feeling in everyone’s mind that the survey has not been done systematically. I too have a similar opinion. So, a fresh cast census has to be done and facts have to be made known to people. I urge the government to make honest efforts in this regard,” Yediyurappa said.
Yediyurappa, a former Chief Minister hails from the Lingayat community.
The then Siddaramaiah-led Congress government (2013-2018) in 2015 had commissioned the social-economic and educational survey, popularly known as the “caste census”, at an estimated cost of Rs 170 crore in the state.
The state Backward Classes Commission under its then chairperson H Kantharaju was tasked with preparing a caste census report.
The survey work was completed in 2018, towards the end of Siddaramaiah’s first tenure as Chief Minister, but was not accepted or made public.
With pressure mounting on his government, from a certain section, to make public the state’s survey, following Bihar government releasing findings of its caste survey recently, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has said that a decision will be taken once he receives the report.
The Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes under its current Chairman K Jayaprakash Hegde, which has the caste census findings, has been given time till January 31, 2024 to submit the report to the government.
Commenting on the hijab controversy, Yediyurappa said Chief Minister Siddaramaiah should stop sowing the seeds of poison between communities, and that it will in no way benefit him and his party.
“It is good that Siddaramaiah budging under our pressure has withdrawn his statement, at least now let the better sense prevail upon him. We (BJP) are not anti-minorities. BJP believes that Hindus, Christians and Muslims should live together like children of one mother, PM Narendra Modi has said this several times,” he said.
Siddaramaiah on Saturday clarified that the administration was only contemplating lifting the ban on wearing hijab in educational institutions in the state and a decision will be taken after holding discussions at the government level.
The clarification came a day after he said that there was no restriction on wearing the religious head scarf in educational institutions and observed that choice of dress and food is personal.