“Exercise not being done under provisions of the Census Act”

Demanding immediate termination of the caste census launched on Wednesday, Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav not only accused the government of betraying Parliament but also held it responsible for all the ills that had gripped the country.

Talking to journalists here, Mr. Yadav said the Manmohan Singh government made an assurance in Parliament that the census would be carried out by the Census Commissioner of India but the exercise now starting from Tripura had been clubbed with the BPL census, using rural employment guarantee labourers and not by the trained census machinery.

Stressing that the caste count was not being done under the statutory provisions of the Census Act, 1948, Mr. Yadav described the enumeration as casual and perfunctory and feared coverage omissions and quality deficiencies that would render it futile.

The JD(U) chief attacked the UPA government for deferring the monsoon session of Parliament to August, pointing out that it always commenced in July. He charged that the government was avoiding facing the Opposition in Parliament with so many issues lined up against it. He said the Opposition would assign priority to the issue of caste census in Parliament.

Reacting to the Prime Minister's interaction with a group of editors, the JD(U) chief said that he presented himself before the media only after he was told to do so at the Congress Working Committee meeting .

Asked whether he foresaw midterm elections, Mr. Yadav warned that “elections don't take place on anyone's desires.” There were several Prime Ministers who thought they would be completing their five-year term: it never happened. The political atmosphere would so evolve that it would force an election, he said. He criticised the Congress leadership for its choice of allies saying it lost the friendship of the Left for a worthless nuclear deal. The UPA I functioned well only because it had the honest company of the Left parties. “Now who have they taken? The government is suffering and the people are suffering.”

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