Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar has publicly disclosed his endorsement of a petition urging Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to reject the upcoming caste census, marking a clear divide within the Congress in Karnataka.
This revelation follows Siddaramaiah's recent commitment to implementing the caste census findings to ensure justice for communities deprived of opportunities.
This was conveyed in a tweet supporting Rahul Gandhi's proposal for a nationwide caste census, if Congress wins the Lok Sabha polls.
The opposition to the caste census is notably shared by Karnataka's dominant communities, the Vokkaligas and Lingayats.
Shivakumar, a Vokkaliga himself, has added his signature to a petition submitted by the Vokkaligara Sangha on 15 November, alongside Higher Education Minister Dr M C Sudhakar and other prominent figures such as H D Deve Gowda, S M Krishna, Shobha Karandlaje, R Ashoka, H D Kumaraswamy, D V Sadananda Gowda, and more.
In justifying his stance, Shivakumar emphasised the need to protect the self-respect of his community, stating that the survey must be conducted scientifically.
He pointed out that various communities, including scheduled tribes, Panchamasali Lingayats, Veerashaivas, and the scheduled tribes (left), are seeking to safeguard their interests based on population.
Siddaramaiah, on the other hand, reiterated his belief that only a caste census can ensure equal opportunities and make the country's independence worthwhile.
The pressure on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has intensified after Bihar released its caste census data, prompting calls for the findings of Karnataka's socio-economic survey to be made public.
However, leaked information suggesting that Vokkaligas and Lingayats may not be the dominant castes has led to concerns about potential political repercussions.
Addressing the opposition, Siddaramaiah questioned why certain groups were opposing the census even before the report was submitted, expressing the intention to discuss the matter in the cabinet once the report is available.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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