Prof Sanjay Kumar, director, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), is one the leading poll analysts in India. Against the backdrop of the nationwide discussions and debates on caste census, he tells FORWARD Press Hindi editor Nawal Kishore Kumar that caste census, if carried out, will be a significant development and in fact, will usher in Mandal 2.0. Excerpts:
How important is caste census to psephology?
Psephology is about predicting the outcome of an election on the basis of the number of voters from a community, which community voted for which party or candidate, which community didn’t vote in large numbers and so on. Now, if we do not know the population of various communities, it becomes a major handicap. Psephologists also predict voting preferences of voters of different communities. Today, we know the exact number of voters of the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities. But we have no data on the OBCs. We do not know what the population of OBCs in, say, Bihar, Tamil Nadu or Uttar Pradesh, is. Similarly, we have no idea how many upper-caste people populate the different states. These figures are needed for psephological interpretations.