Karnataka’s caste survey will be released on August 20, about three months after its results were “leaked” and reported in the media.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event organised to mark Devaraj Urs’ birth centenary in Shivamogga, Social Welfare Minister Anjaneya said on Saturday, that the government had already accepted the report, which would also co-relate caste with socio-economic, education, and religious indicators.
The caste survey has been hotly debated, supported and opposed by various groups of people since it was announced by the government. The last time it stirred up a debate was in April, when some media houses began to report on the results which were “leaked” to the media. However, the government had then denied having consolidated the results.
Results of the “leaked” caste census, conducted by the Karnataka State Backward Classes Commission, placed Scheduled Castes as the single largest caste group, followed by Muslims and Lingayats.
However, Commissioner Chairman H Kantharaj, Minister Anjaneya and others had denied that the figures existed at the time. They maintained that the results of the survey, which had been conducted in had not yet been tabulated.
The leaked numbers
If the officially released results are the same as the numbers leaked in April, the data would corroborate what Dalit rights activists have long maintained: that the Ahinda formation – an acronym of the Kannada words for minorities, backward castes and Dalits (Alpasankhyata, Hindulida, and Dalita) – was the numerically stronger block.
|CASTE / COMMUNITY||SUB-CASTES||POPULATION||PERCENTAGE|
|Scheduled Castes||180||1.08 crore||18|
(The percentage has been calculated with Karnataka’s population as six crore, although the Census 2011 shows the state population as 6.1 crore.)
Electorally, Karnataka’s power centres have always been Lingayats, and Vokkaligas, as they are concentrated in certain parts of the state and can therefore, wield political influence through consolidation of votes. Lingayats largely have a presence in the districts of north Karnataka, while the Vokkaligas are concentrated in the old Mysore region and the southern districts. The Ahinda communities however, are spread out across the state and cannot exert any significant clout electorally on account of the voting system.
Read detailed coverage of the caste census: