The Bharatiya Janata Party’s ally Apna Dal (S) on Sunday demanded a separate Central ministry for the welfare of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and a caste-based census across the country. They wanted to ascertain the exact population of each community. Apna Dal (S) has made this demand when assembly elections are due in Uttar Pradesh next year.
Apna Dal (S) is the second ally of the ruling BJP, after Bihar’s JDU, which has raised the demand for a caste-based census. In addition, opposition parties like the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party have also been demanding this. The demand assumes significance a few months ahead of the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, where a major chunk of voters belongs to the OBC category. The Wire‘s Arfa Khanum Sherwani discusses the issue with Abhay Dubey, senior journalist Urmilesh, Delhi University’s assistant professor Laxman Yadav and Satish Deshpande.