Congress-led government will hold caste census, says CWC

The Congress will straightaway implement the women’s reservation bill and conduct the nationwide caste census if the party comes to power, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said in his address to the Congress Working Committee, or CWC, the party’s top decision-making body, on Monday.

Kharge said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could have right away implemented the bill which seeks to reserve 33% of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies but Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not do this.

“The Congress and opposition parties wholeheartedly supported the women’s reservation bill. If Modiji wanted, women’s reservation could have been implemented from this election itself. And OBC women could also get a place. This bill has been brought only for publicity and vote bank,” Kharge, who is also the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, told the CWC.

On September 21, Parliament approved the 106th amendment to the Constitution to reserve a third of the seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislatures for women, a landmark endorsement of a decades-long crusade that was unsuccessful on at least six occasions over nearly three decades.

But the law will take some time before being implemented as the next census and the subsequent delimitation exercise (or redrawing of Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies) will ascertain the particular seats being earmarked for women. Union law minister Arjun Ram Meghwal has said the 33% quota for women will kick in any time after 2026.