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M M Joshi Differs From Party, Opposes Caste Census

Striking a discordant note from his party's position, senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi on Friday  opposed the idea of including caste in census, saying it would "disintegrate" the society.  "My view is that caste
PTI May 28, 2010 20:36 IST
PTI

Striking a discordant note from his party's position, senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi on Friday  opposed the idea of including caste in census, saying it would "disintegrate" the society. 

"My view is that caste census is not good... In my opinion, this will further disintegrate the society," Joshi told reporters here amid the raging debate on whether caste should be included in the ongoing census exercise.

The former HRD Minister insisted that caste census would not solve any problem and it was not the right thing to do particularly when the country is faced with several other problems. "Why raise this issue at a time when so many other issues are there? It will not solve any problem. First things must come first," Joshi said. 

He said even the government was divided on the issue and that was why it had decided that a Group of Ministers would be set up to take a view on it. He claimed that BJP's official view will be decided later as there are different opinions within the party. 

However, his view runs contrary to the stated position of BJP that it supports caste census as it would give an exact idea about employment, education and economic status of various castes in the country. 

Participating in the debate on the issue in the Lok Sabha during the recently-concluded Budget Session, BJP's Deputy Leader Gopinath Munde and Ananth Kumar had expressed their support. 

To a question, Joshi said if only the condition of various castes was to be ascertained, it could be done by NGOs and researchers. "We need to think about it with a cool mind," he said. PTI