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Amit Shah Releases BJP’s Manifesto In Chhattisgarh, Says Using Caste Census As Poll Plank Is Not Correct

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had repeatedly called for a national caste census in his election rallies, seeking to portray the demand as one that will benefit OBCs.

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Amit Shah
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Union home minister Amit Shah has said BJP is not opposed to a caste census but contesting polls using this plank is not correct.

Shah made these remarks while articulating his party’s stand on a major electoral issue in the five-state assembly polls this month.

He decried attempts by Opposition parties to politicise the issue, a reference to the Congress that has promised to hold caste-based surveys in four mainland poll-bound states if it comes to power.

He also announced, as part of the BJP’s poll manifesto, a slew of promises aimed at farmers and women, two key demographics that can shape the assembly elections. 

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“This included an annual assistance of Rs 12,000 to married women and Rs 10,000 to landless farm labourers, procuring 21 quintals of paddy per acre at Rs 3,100 and providing LPG cylinders for Rs 500,” HT reported. 

“We don’t seek vote on this issue [caste census] since we are a national political party. We will discuss with everyone and whatever will be appropriate we will declare, but to fight elections on this issue is not correct...,” he said. “The BJP never opposed it [caste census] but decisions have to be taken after proper thought and we will tell at appropriate time,” he added.

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His comments mark the strongest response by the BJP to the Opposition’s demand for a caste census since Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that poor were the biggest caste for him, and accused the Opposition of dividing society.

It came amid promises by the Congress to hold caste-based surveys in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana if it wins the upcoming assembly polls in these states. The Congress has sought to make the caste census a core poll plank and the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance of 28 opposition parties has included it in its key agenda.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had repeatedly called for a national caste census in his election rallies, seeking to portray the demand as one that will benefit other backward classes (OBCs), a key vote bank. In numerous rallies over the past three weeks, Gandhi has argued in favour of a caste census, saying that it will aid in understanding the country’s demographic composition and pave the way for an inclusive development strategy.

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