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DMK bats for caste census in Tamil Nadu

The ruling DMK is for caste-based census in Tamil Nadu to fulfill the long-standing demand of various communities in the state

Chennai, Feb 11 (BPNS)

The ruling DMK is for caste-based census in Tamil Nadu to fulfill the long-standing demand of various communities in the state. The Tamil Nadu government has in a policy note said that the government was committed to implementing and protecting the 69% quota in educational institutions as also for the appointments in government services in the state.

The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M.K. Stalin has already demanded a caste-wise census in the state. The Opposition AIADMK had in its previous tenure set up a commission for collection of quantifiable data on castes, communities, and tribes and had appointed a retired Judge of the Madras High court, Justice A. Kulashekharan as the chairman of the commission.  The commission was constituted following vociferous demand from the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) an ally of the AIADMK.

The DMK government is also not averse to caste-based census and the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and father of M.K. Stalin, late M. Karunanidhi had categorically stated that a caste-based census was necessary for and important to implement social justice.

He had even recommended the central government that should in itself implement caste based census as it was desired by all those who were concerned about social justice.

DMK Deputy Secretary and Member of Parliament, Kanimozhi Karunanidhi daughter of late M. Karunanidhi and sister of M.K. Stalin has also demanded a caste based census and had said that people cannot wait for another decade to know about caste based compositions.

The DMK leader had demanded that without statistics no difference could be made in the society. The DMK has pushed for the caste based census over the years as it is of the feel that the welfare of the marginalized communities could have been progressed based on the caste based report.

DMK and other political parties demand for a caste based census so that it can justify the reservations provided to various communities.  The DMK and its leaders including Kanimozhi and others are batting for a caste based census over the fear that the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) of the powerful Vanniyar community will get the limelight on the issue.

Even after the Central government informed the Supreme Court in 2021 that a caste-based census was not feasible. The DMK and AIADMK, the two Dravidian majors are supportive of caste-based census but except for talks in seminars and occasional statements from the Chief Minister and other leaders, the party has not raised the issue much vociferously.

However DMK is of the opinion that if the actual number of Other Backward Classes (OBC) is known then the party would be able to break the reservation cap of 50 percent as fixed by the Supreme Court of India.

A senior leader of the DMK who does not want to be named while speaking to IANS said,” When the actual number of OBCs is known, then we can move the Supreme Court to increase the percentage of reservation.”

Even as the DMK is batting for a caste census, the party did not restore the services of the A. Kulasekharan commission appointed by the AIADMK government. Party leaders said that the state government cannot conduct a caste census and that it should be held along with the general census.

The DMK has in its election manifesto for the 2021 assembly elections stated that it would urge the central government to conduct a caste census for the entire population. The party has also said that it would push for 27% reservation to the backward community in admissions to the IITs and other educational institutions as well as for the appointment of teachers.

While DMK leaders in public and in parliament push for a caste-based census, at the ground level, the party has not been pushing this as an agenda and has been lukewarm in demanding for the same during the census to be carried out by the Government of India.

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