Karnataka

‘I never opposed the release of the caste census,’ says former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah

Published : October 14, 2021 11:20 IST

Siddaramaiah, former Karnataka Chief Minister Photo: The Hindu Archives

Speaking at a protest convention organised by the Karnataka State Backward Classes Federation (KSBCF) in Kalaburagi on October 12, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah stated that contrary to accusations, he had never opposed the release of the caste census (the Socio-Economic and Education Survey of Karnataka).

Speaking at a protest convention organised by the Karnataka State Backward Classes Federation (KSBCF) in Kalaburagi on October 12, former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah stated that contrary to accusations, he had never opposed the release of the caste census (the Socio-Economic and Education Survey of Karnataka). “There is a false accusation being spread against me that I had opposed the release of the Socio-Economic and Education Survey. Why don’t these people who are accusing me come on the same platform and have a discussion rather than taking potshots at me from afar? Then, it will become clear who is in favour and who is against the release of the survey,” Siddaramaiah said.

The KSBCF had organised the convention to pressure the Basavaraj Bommai government to accept the survey. Speaking at the event, Siddaramaiah added, “The survey took place over two years and 1.6 lakh teachers were involved in the logistics of the exercise. I released funds for the exercise over two years and appointed the commission as well. How can I be opposed to its findings? The report was not ready by the time my tenure as Chief Minister ended [in 2018]. Hence, the question of my acceptance or rejection of the report cannot arise at all.”

The Karnataka State Commission for Backward Classes (KSCBC) conducted the mammoth exercise for which Rs.185 crore was sanctioned in 2015. The survey report has not been tabled in the Cabinet or the Legislative Assembly, although leaked portions have pointed out that the percentage of dominant castes such as Lingayats and Vokkaligas is not as high as is commonly believed. Thus, while sections of Dalits and Backward Classes have been demanding that the results of the survey, especially the true caste numbers, be revealed, there has been opposition to this move by the Lingayat and Vokkaliga leadership in Karnataka.

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