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Jharkhand BJP president part of all-party delegation to meet Amit Shah on caste census

Ranchi, September 25: BJP state president and Rajya Sabha MP Deepak Prakash will be part of the all-party delegation led by chief minister Hemant Soren to meet Union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday at 4 pm.

The delegation will comprise Hemant Soren, Deepak Prakash, Congress state president Rajesh Thakur and cabinet minister Alamgir Alam, Ajsu MLA Sudesh Mahato, cabinet minister and RJD leader Satyanand Bhokta, Vinod Singh (CPI-ML), Bhuvneshwar Mahato (CPI), Suresh Munda (CPM), Arup Chatterjee (Marxist Coordination Centre) and Kamlesh Singh (NCP) on caste census and inclusion of separate Sarna religion code in 2021 Census.

The meeting is being held days after Soren on September 7 wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking an appointment for the delegation over the issue.

People aware of the matter said the Prime Minister’s Office instead suggested a meeting with Shah as census comes under his ministry’s preview.

 Significantly, Jharkhand BJP chief Deepak Prakash earlier this week said they would not join any such delegation.

The Jharkhand assembly last year in November in a day-long special session adopted a unanimous resolution demanding a separate Sarna tribal religion column in the 2021 census and sent it to the Union government.

Insiders in the JMM, which is heading a coalition government in the state, pointed out how the PM had agreed to meet Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, who is leading an NDA government, and  accused the PM of  “step brotherly treatment to Jharkhand”.

Incidentally, the Central government had on Thursday effectively ruled out a caste census in 2021, the Centre has told the Supreme Court that such an exercise “would not be feasible” and that “exclusion of information regarding any other caste”, apart from SCs and STs, “from the purview of the census is a conscious policy decision”.

This was the key submission of the Ministry of Social Justice in an affidavit filed in the top court in response to a plea by the Maharashtra government seeking a direction to the Census Department to collect information on Backward Class of Citizens (BCC) in the 2021 enumeration.

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