Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra, DH file photo
The Karnataka government is not apprehensive of releasing the caste census and it would be done at an appropriate time, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra has said. "The caste census data is now the property of Backward Classes Commission.
It is yet to reach the government. The government is not apprehensive and will take the decision at an appropriate time," he told reporters here late last night. He was asked whether the government was apprehensive about releasing the data as some were claiming it would have an impact on the prospects of Congress in the assembly elections due early this year.
Speaking to PTI from Dharwad, political analyst and professor at Karnatak University Harish Ramaswamy said he is sceptical about the Siddaramaiah government releasing the data because it will damage the Congress' electoral prospects. "If the data is released, it will backfire. The electoral prospects of the Congress will be at stake, because it will neutralise the issue of separate religious status for Lingayats, which the BJP alleges is an attempt to divide Vokkaliga and Lingayat communities, for electoral gains," he said.
The main intention of the Congress government to pitch for separate religion status for Lingayats is to split the votes of Lingayats which is the core vote-bank of the BJP, Ramaswamy claimed. However, the government should release the data as it is the best possible way to take developmental schemes to the needy communities, he said.
A leaked data of the purported findings of the census had created a stir in Lingayat and Vokkaliga communities given the possible political ramifications. The Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha and Rajya Vokkaligara Okkoota had vehemently criticised the leaked data, which had omitted certain sub-castes of both communities, which brought down their numbers considerably.
Both the outfits alleged the Siddaramaiah-led government has deliberately omitted certain sub-castes to play down their numbers and break them into splinters. However, Jayachandra said the census was conducted strictly as per procedure but was delayed due to updation of data in some parts of the state. "In some parts of the state, data was not fully prepared. The authorities wanted some to update, hence there was a delay," he said.