The Bihar Post

Bihar: Ruling NDA partners tussle over caste-based census

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PATNA—The continuing confrontation between the two ruling NDA partners in Bihar, the JD-U and the BJP, over the caste-based census is getting stronger by the day. The development comes after the Union government announced not to enumerate caste-wise population other than SCs and STs in census.

Days after chief minister Nitish Kumar made repeated demand for holding caste-based census, a group of eight JD-U parliamentarians have written to the Prime Minister, seeking for such cenus. These MPs include Sunil Kumar Pintu, RP Mandal, Vijay Kumar Manjhi, Dileshwar Kamat, Dr Alok Kumar Suman, Sunil Kumar, Santosh Kushwaha and Chandeshwar Prasad Chandravanshi.

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In their letter to the PM, the MPs wrote that they are shocked and saddened by the government’s statement in the Parliament that the 2021 census wound not be caste-based. They said majority of the people wanted caste-based census for the proper welfare of all sections of the society and asked how would the schemes for the backward classes be prepared until their actual number is not known.

According to them, the Bihar state assembly had unanimously passed a resolution for conducting caste-based census twice in 2019 and 2020, and sent them to the Centre. They urged the Centre to reconsider their decision.

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This comes barely days after the chief minister sought for to conducting caste-based census at least once. “This will be to the benefit of everyone,” the chief minister had told newsmen earlier this week.

The JD-U’s demand comes shortly after the Centre decided as a matter of policy not to enumerate caste-wise population other than SCs and STs in census.

“The State governments of Maharashtra and Odisha have requested to collect caste details in the forthcoming census. The government of India has decided as a matter of policy not to enumerate caste-wise population other than SCs and STs in census,” Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai had told the parliament last week.

Meanwhile, in a significant development, Bihar opposition leader and RJD legislator Tejashwi Yadav has requested the chief minister to conduct caste-based census on his own if the Centre refuses to budge from its stand.

“My demand is that since both houses of the legislature have already passed unanimous resolution on more than one occasion supporting a caste-based census, it was high time pressure was put on the Centre to see reason,” Tejashwi suggested.

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