The INDIA opposition alliance has “agreed to take up the issue of caste census”, Congress leader KC Venugopal said Wednesday evening after the bloc’s coordination committee met in Delhi. The committee has also decided to “start the process for determining seat-sharing”, Mr Venugopal said.
Only 12 of the 14 opposition parties named to the bloc’s highest decision-making body were present this evening. The most significant absentee was the Trinamool Congress, whose nominee – Lok Sabha MP Abhishek Banerjee was “conveniently” summoned today by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with its inquiry into alleged irregularities in appointments to government schools.
Mr Banerjee’s absence was significant because his party had refused to support the bloc’s intention to push the government to conduct a caste census; Trinamool boss and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had opposed adding this demand to a joint political resolution, sources told NDTV.
Sans the Trinamool’s presence, INDIA decided to push for a caste census call now and speak to the party later – a decision that will almost certainly not go down well with Ms Banerjee.
“The parties present in the meeting agreed to take up the issue of Caste Census.”
“The coordination committee decided to start the process for determining seat-sharing. It was decided that the member parties will hold talks and decide at the earliest,” the bloc said.
Meanwhile, the INDIA group has also formed a sub-committee to select TV channels and news organisations on which they will not appear.