Nitish Kumar-led Bihar delegation meets Modi over caste census, says PM to take final call

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Updated: August 23, 2021 1:06 PM

The delegation includes leader of the opposition Tejashwi Yadav, HAM President and former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and state minister Janak Ram. 

The delegation includes leader of the opposition Tejashwi Yadav, HAM President and former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and state minister Janak Ram. 

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar headed a 11-member delegation, comprising one member each from political parties in the state, to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi today on the issue of a caste-based census. The delegation included leader of the opposition Tejashwi Yadav, HAM President and former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and state minister Janak Ram. 

After the meeting, Kumar said that the prime minister listened to the delegation’s demand and was informed by the members that resolutions demanding caste census in Bihar has been passed twice in the state assembly. He, along with Yadav, said that a final decision on the issue is now awaited on the prime minister’s end.

“The prime minister listened to all members of the delegation on caste census in the state. We urged the PM to take an appropriate decision on it. We briefed him on how resolutions have been passed twice in the state assembly on caste census,” he said while talking to reporters.

Ahead of the meeting in the national capital, Yadav said that resolutions have been passed twice in the Bihar Assembly demanding caste state in the state. “With such a census we can get data that can help in preparing relevant benefit schemes for people from different sections of society,” he said. 

Meanwhile, BJP leader Sushil Modi on Sunday said that his party was not adverse to such an exercise. The comment came in contrast to the party’s tough stand on the issue after the government told the Parliament that it has decided not to carry out a caste-based census as a matter of policy.

“The BJP was never against caste-based census, we have also been part of resolutions passed in the legislative assembly and council in its support. The delegation that will meet PM Modi also includes a BJP representative,” he wrote in a series of tweets on Sunday.

The demand for a caste census was triggered by a statement by the Centre in Parliament last month that populations of only SCs and STs were proposed to be enumerated. In states like Bihar, where OBCs have dominated politics since the Mandal era, this has led to a vociferous demand for a headcount of backward classes as well.

Kumar reiterated that there is a countrywide sentiment in favour of a caste census being conducted at least once. There should be no misgivings as such an exercise will be beneficial for all social groups.

The chief minister had sought an appointment with the PM after a request to the effect was made by leaders of the Grand Alliance, who pointed out that the state legislature has twice passed unanimous resolutions in favour of a caste census.

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