K’taka CM accepts controversial caste census report ahead of Lok Sabha elections

Bengaluru, Feb 29 – In a big development, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday accepted the controversial Socio-Economic and Educational Survey Report, also known as the caste census.

The Congress government’s move is likely to trigger a controversy in the state ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The President of Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes, K. Jayaprakash Hegde, submitted the report to CM Siddaramaiah at the Vidhana Soudha on Thursday in the presence of Minister for Kannada and Culture, Shivaraj Tangadagi.

Siddaramaiah said the caste census report will now be placed before the Cabinet for discussions. He, however, refused to divulge any further information on the report.

Minister for Law, H.K Patil, said that if needed, legal opinion will be sought on the report.

“First we will have to see how much time is required to study the report,” he said.

Meanwhile, former chairman of the State Commission for Backward Classes, H. Kanthataj, said that he is happy that the report is finally being submitted.

“Once you study the report, the pros and cons will be known. The report is prepared to ensure the welfare of all sections of people. It gives voice to the voiceless. It is for the welfare of all,” he said.

The move to accept the report came amid strong opposition by the influential Vokkaliga and Lingayat communities. The associations of both these communities have declared that they would reject the report, dubbing it as “unscientific”.

Former Chief Minister and JD(S) state President H.D. Kumaraswamy had even challenged Chief Minister Siddaramaiah that if he had the capacity, he should accept the caste report prepared by Kantharaj.

Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar was one of the signatories in the memorandum submitted to the state government urging not to accept that report.

Seers of the backward communities, on the other hand, had urged CM Siddaramaiah to accept the caste census report.

Amid the opposition, the CM had declared that he would accept the controversial report.

Union minister Pralhad Joshi had stated that the state government does not have the authority to conduct a caste census.

Joshi maintained that the task of conducting a caste census rests only with the Central government.

mka/arm

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