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Congress wants to know your caste before you join the Grand Old Party

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The online enrollment form for joining the Congress party, requires not just filling the category but also the specific caste names of applicants.

This comes as a change in tactic by the Congress, from its earlier stand on the issue of caste census when it was in power at the Centre.

The form which is available online at www.inc.in, asks for “additional profile information” including photograph, date of birth, gender, category and caste, while in category, an applicant has to choose from general, most backward caste, minority, other backward caste, Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and NT/VJNT (nomadic tribe or Vimukta Jati and Nomadic Tribes).

Though spelling out the caste is not mandatory in the online form for Congress membership, it has raised the public’s eyebrows.

National Dalit Movement for Justice general secretary Ramesh Nathan said, “Legally speaking, asking the caste of a person is not a violation of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.

“But the larger question here is of propriety. Why in this day and age does anyone need to know your caste? Why does a political organisation need your caste for the membership? If an applicant is applying for job or a seat under the quota, then also the government asks only for the category not the caste” , he said.

The move is being viewed as a classic case of caste vote-bank politics by some activists.

Asha Kowtal, general secretary, All India Mahila Adhikar Manch says, “It is a larger game plan of using caste as a political currency.

While the form on the site asks for the caste, the hard copy obtained from the party office only asks for the category.

The main Congress rival, BJP, however, does not require the disclosure of caste or pointing the category, for applicants to become its members.

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