Sunday, July 14, 2024

Caste census: K’taka govt asks committee to submit report; move likely to trigger political slugfest

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Tuesday that the Backward Classes Commission has been asked to submit the caste census report to the state government.

“Once the report is submitted, it will be verified,” he said.

The move is likely to trigger a political slugfest in the state.

Speaking to reporters in Belagavi, Siddaramaiah said, “The report was prepared during the tenure of former CM H.D. Kumaraswamy. H. Kantharaju was the Chairman of the Permanent Commission of Backward Classes. When he went to Kumaraswamy to submit the report, the latter did not accept it.”

“The then secretary to the government did not give his signature to the report. The report will now have to be submitted after getting a signature from the secretary,” he added.

Siddaramaiah maintained that he had initially ordered the socio-economic survey. Then Kantharaju was the President of the Backward Committees Commission.

“The report was not fully prepared my previous tenure. Then Kumaraswamy became the CM under the coalition government and the Commission was headed by MLA Puttaranga Setty. The report was not taken,” he said.

The BJP had appointed Jayaprakash Hegde to the Commission. He had been asked to submit the report, but he had not given it, Siddaramaiah said.

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. Kantharaju. Though Siddaramaiah ordered the caste census, he had to bend before the leaders of the Vokkaliga and Lingayat communities of his party who insisted not to accept the report.

Sources said the report stated that SC and ST groups form the majority in the state, followed by Muslims.

The Lingayats, considered to be the majority population, were shown as the third largest group, while Vokkaligas, believed to be in second position, were shown in fourth position, sources said.

The facts created a stir in the state, triggering a huge controversy as the Muslim community was shown as having the second-highest population in Karnataka.

Meanwhile, Minister for PWD, Satish Jarkiholi, has said that the caste census is ready.

“It should be accepted and implemented soon. The previous Siddaramaiah-led Congress government had spent Rs 162 crore to conduct the economic, social and academic census in the state. We are under pressure to release the report,” he said.

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