Politics over religion of tribals in census continues in Madhya Pradesh

BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya | Salil Bera BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya | Salil Bera

The politics over reported plan of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to ensure that tribals report their religion as Hindus in the upcoming census continues to play in Madhya Pradesh with BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya issuing a warning to Kamal Nath that he (Nath) won't be able to continue for even a single day as chief minister if he tried to stop census officials from recording tribals as Hindus.

Vijayvargiya's warning came at a public gathering in Ujjain on Monday where the BJP was protesting blockade of road to Mahakal temple over Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The BJP leader was referring to Kamal Nath's recent stand that no one would be allowed to force tribals to record their religion against their wishes.

However, Vijayvargiya gave a twist to the chief minister's stand and said if Kamal Nath stopped the census officials from recording tribals' religion as 'Hindu', he would not be able to continue as CM. The BJP leader ascribed political motive to the assertion of the chief minister and said that first people were divided on basis of religion and now even among the Hindus, division was being created for political gains.

Vijayvargiya's warning comes close on the heels of Madhya Pradesh leader of opposition Gopal Bhargava's accusation that Kamal Nath was trying to convert tribals in the state to Christianity at the behest of Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi.

Kamal Nath's stand on religion of tribals in census had came after there were reports that the RSS was planning to launch a campaign to ensure that tribals identified themselves as Hindus in the census. During a recently held meeting in Bhopal, the Sangh leadership had opined that one of the reasons for fall in percentage of Hindu population in the country during past two censuses was the fact that section of tribals identified themselves as non-Hindus.

The chief minister had warned that no attempts to disrupt the peaceful life of tribals would be allowed in Madhya Pradesh and had warned of legal action against it.