Nitish Kumar turns up heat on caste census, all-party meeting likely on May 27

Despite the Centre ruling out a caste census last year, Kumar — the BJP’s ally in Bihar — has been mounting pressure on the saffron party, saying that it will be “in the national interest”. 

Despite the Centre ruling out a caste census last year, Kumar — the BJP’s ally in Bihar — has been mounting pressure on the saffron party, saying that it will be “in the national interest”. 

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said that his government would start working on a caste-based census after taking the views of all parties. The same has been demanded by opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav. 

On being asked by journalists about unconfirmed reports that an all-party meeting has been called on May 27, Kumar said that while many parties have agreed to the date, a consensus from all of them is still awaited.

“We will call an all-party meeting to take everyone’s views on a caste-based census. Then the proposal will be presented before the state cabinet. We have spoken to some parties on conducting the meeting on 27 (May) but we are waiting for some parties to respond. After a final decision, the proposal will go to the cabinet and then we will start work,” Kumar was quoted by news agency ANI as saying. 

“We have started talks with every party. Everyone is not on board. We are waiting for their response,” he said. 

Despite the Centre ruling out a caste census last year, Kumar — the BJP’s ally in Bihar — has been mounting pressure on the saffron party, saying that it will be “in the national interest”. 

On August 23 last year, Kumar lad led a 10-party delegation from the state, including RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the demand of a caste-based census.

Ties between Nitish Kumar and the BJP have been choppy in the past few months. In the latest sign of a rift, Nitish Kumar hinted that he was not on the same page with the BJP on the CBI raids on his rival-turned-ally-turned-rival Lalu Yadav and his family. While the BJP claimed the fresh corruption case against Lalu Yadav was because of the efforts of Nitish Kumar’s party, the Chief Minister said he didn’t know about the raids and “only they (CBI)” can explain it.

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