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New Delhi/Belagavi, Dec 13 – AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge criticised Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar’s stand against releasing the Karnataka caste survey report.

“All you upper castes are united on this. You (BJP) are also on this, and so is he (DK Shivakumar Our Deputy Chief Minister is against caste census. He is also doing it, they (BJP) are also doing it,” he said in Rajya Sabha on Monday.

Kharge’s response was triggered by BJP MP and former Bihar Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi’s insinuation that there is a rift within Karnataka Congress over releasing of Karnataka caste census report.

Modi had said, “A lot is being discussed about caste census. In fact, caste census was a very big issue in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh assembly elections. But, it petered out. What happened to it?

“I want to ask the Congressmen, and AICC President (Kharge), who hails from there (Karnataka), that in 2015 a survey was conducted in Karnataka. Now, it has been eight years, why has the report not been published? Karnataka DyCM (Shivakumar) has signed a petition to not make the report public.

Modi referred to the rift within Karnataka Congress where Shivakumar’s stance on the issue is in variance of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who expressed his intentions to release the Karnataka caste survey report.

The Indi Alliance is pushing for a nationwide caste census to make it a big political issue ahead of 2024 general elections. However, in Karnataka where the Congress recently came to power with a majority, two dominant communities Vokkaligas and Lingayats have publicly taken a stand against the caste census.

Shivakumar, on Tuesday, clarified that he never objected to caste census in Karnataka, but sought holding of the survey in a scientific way. “I have not opposed it anywhere. We want a proper caste census to be done in a very systematic way … I fully endorse the Congress party’s commitment towards all sections of the society,” he said.