The Congress on Thursday said a decision on caste census should be taken only after a consensus, as it was a sensitive issue.

Party spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed told journalists during the daily briefing: “After 1932 no caste census took place. On such a sensitive issue, any decision can be made only after talking to all parties and building a comprehensive consensus.” He said everybody would try to take the lead in evolving a consensus on the issue, and that the consensus could emerge inside or even outside Parliament, but admitted that “sentiments were divided.”

Several party leaders, however, supported the idea, saying the opposition to it was not logical as “after all, we are giving reservation on the basis of caste.” “If we are giving reservation on the basis of caste, it is also necessary to know the exact population of different castes,” they said.

There was a huge demand for a caste-based census in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, though differences within the Congress were obvious during a Cabinet meeting on the issue.

On the demand for a joint parliamentary panel probe into the 2G spectrum issue, Mr. Ahmed said that was between the Lok Sabha Speaker, the Rajya Sabha Chairman and the government.

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