Tamil Nadu assembly will pass resolution seeking national caste census, says MK Stalin

CM said PMK, an ally of the ruling NDA at the centre, could make the BJP conduct a nationwide caste census by exerting pressure on it. He also urged the PMK to support the state’s resolution.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin Photo | Express

CHENNAI: Chief Minister MK Stalin on Monday announced that a resolution would be passed in the current Assembly session urging the Union Government to conduct a nationwide caste census along with the (pending) decennial census.

The CM said this when PMK floor leader GK Mani raised the issue of 10.5% reservation for the Vanniyar community. Pointing out that the caste census conducted by Bihar government was struck down by court, the CM said PMK, an ally of the ruling NDA at the centre, could make the BJP conduct nationwide caste census by exerting pressure on it. He also urged the PMK to support the state’s resolution.

Law Minister S Regupathy and Transport Minister SS Sivasankar, too, responded to the PMK leader. When Mani sought more time, Speaker Appavu said the CM and ministers had already given sufficient explanation and if Mani wanted to elaborate, he could do it when the demands for grants for the backward classes department are taken up for discussion. Mani later staged a walkout.

During the discussion, when Mani said the TN government should conduct a caste census to ensure the quota for Vanniyars, S Regupathy said since the 10.5% reservation was given in haste by the AIADMK regime without getting proper data on socio-economic, employment and educational status of the community, it was struck down by the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court.

Caste census must for socio-economic welfare: Minister

He said the present government has given additional terms of reference to the Backward Classes Commission and also provided data on educational and employment opportunities to the commission. But for gathering data on socio-economic development, the decennial census and caste census should be conducted at the national level.

“Since you (the PMK) are in alliance with the BJP now, you can reiterate the demand for national-level caste census and through this, the reservation for Vanniyar community can be ensured. This government has not been blocking this in any way,” Regupathy said.

Mani said without conducting a caste census, the state could provide internal reservation for the Vanniyar community. Already, the government has given such reservations to Muslims and Arundathiyar community.

Transport Minister SS Sivasankar said the remarks of the PMK leader gave an impression that as if the DMK is standing against the reservation for the Vanniyar community.

“Because of the 20% reservation for Most Backward Classes, the Vanniyar community in the northern districts got more than 10.5% quota. As per the TNPSC data, the Vanniyar community is getting more than 10.5% reservation. But what you demand will only reduce what the Vanniyar community is enjoying right now. But you have caught the tail of a tiger; you can neither leave it nor hold on to it,” said the minister.

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