Pradeep Pattanayak

The ripple effect of caste census started in Bihar is being felt in Odisha as not only the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress but also the backward classes have cornered the BJD-led state government for it dragging its feet on it. 

Following the Centre’s rejection for a caste census, the BJD-led dispensation, showing solidarity with the backward classes expressed interest and announced to conduct a census. In September 2021, a resolution was also passed. The survey was supposed to be done by the OBC Commission. Then it was decided that the survey would start from May 2021 and conclude on June 11. For this, training was also imparted to the field workers.
Then all of a sudden, the plan fell by the wayside. The government then came up with a ruse that the plan was put on hold temporarily due to the outbreak of the pandemic Covid-19. 
The severity of the pestilence has long been over, but the government is yet to wake up from its deep slumber. 

“We term it as unfortunate. It amounts to step-motherly treatment to 54 percent people of the State. We will launch a people awareness campaign and bring the State to a standstill for the sake of these OBC people,” said BJP OBC Morcha president Surath Biswal. 

Congress spokesperson Nishikant Mishra, in his reaction said, “The caste census has started in Bihar where the Congress is a part of the coalition government. Our party always talks the talk and walks the walk. It is a fact that whenever an election is round the corner, both the BJD and BJP shed crocodile tears. If they (the BJD) have sympathy for them (OBC); then why the census has not been started in our State?”

In his reaction, ruling-BJD vice president, Debiprasad Mishra said, “The concerned department can say it better. A commission was also formed and our government has already taken a decision for the census.”

At the same time, OBC Manch president Abani Kumar Mahanta targeted the government, saying, “After the election, they forgot about it (caste census). It indicates that they resorted to the means to deceive the OBC. Because of it, OBC agitation is emerging from everywhere.”