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Caste Census: Bihar delegation meets PM

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 23, 2021

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, after meeting with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi   -  PTI

Modi assures a decision will be taken after discussions with stakeholders

Stepping up the clamour for a caste-based census, 10 political parties in the Bihar Assembly, headed by Chief Minister and JD(U) supremo Nitish Kumar and Opposition leader and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday and said data on caste is important for charting the course of development too.

Modi told the delegation that a decision will be taken after discussions with various stakeholders on the matter. Apart from the JD(U) and the RJD, the delegation had one representative each from the BJP, Congress, CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML), AIMIM, HAM and VIP party.

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Talking to reporters after the meeting, Kumar said all the parties from Bihar were united in demanding a caste-based census. “Statistics about different castes will help in formulating development schemes effectively as many of them have not benefited so far in line with their actual population,” Kumar said.

‘National interest’

“The demand for a caste census is in national interest and it will be a historic measure for the poor and the most deprived sections of the society. The Prime Minister said he will take a decision soon,” Yadav said.

Minister in the State Cabinet and Dalit leader of the BJP in Bihar, Janak Ram, said Modi heard them out patiently. “Everyone was satisfied and the Prime Minister’s decision will be acceptable to all,” he claimed.

Both Kumar and Yadav said the statement of Union Minister Nityanand Rai in Rajya Sabha that there was no proposal for releasing caste-based population data has triggered unrest among people.

‘Churn in Bihar’

The meeting instilled discussions among political circles that the Bihar politics has started witnessing yet another churn on the issue of caste census. Many Congress and Opposition leaders, who talked in Rajya Sabha on the Constitutional Amendment Bill retaining the States’ power to chart the list of OBCs, said the limit of 50 per cent in reservation must go. There is also a demand that once a caste census is conducted, the real number of population who needs reservation can be assessed and this would raise a question mark on the present limit of 50 per cent on reservation. This demand has supporters within the BJP too, particularly ahead of the Uttar Pradesh elections.

Published on August 23, 2021

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