Bihar politics on boil as Centre rules out caste census
By SYED MOHAMMAD SHAHBAZ
PATNA—The central government’s affidavit in the Supreme Court expressing “inability” to conduct caste census of backward classes as part of the decennial Census of 2021 has raised political temperatures in Bihar.
The JD-U led by Nitish Kumar pitched the demand with a great zeal and got support from opposition parties hinting at the revival of Mandal politics in the state.
JD-U sources on Friday said that this is not the final decision of the government and it must be given time to meet their demand of caste based enumeration in the census.
JD-U’s ally the BJP, however, supported the move citing infirmities in SECC 2011 describing it unusable.
“It will not be appropriate for the central government to repeat the mistakes of 2011. The decision of the centre is in line with the census as 4 lakh 28 sections cannot be created in the computer data,” BJP State president Sanjay Jaiswal said, adding that “Every state is free to conduct caste based census like Odisha and Karnataka”.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad, in a series of tweets, lashed out at centre’s decision and called for boycott of BJP ministers and MPs from OBC category.
“BJP-RSS is doing a lot of deceit with the backward/most backward classes. If the central government cannot calculate the caste count of more than 60 percent of the total population of the country by adding an additional column in the census form, then shame on such government,” Prasad tweeted on Fridday.
On Thursday, reacting to the writ petition filed by the state of Maharashtra asking to gather backward classes data in the state coinciding with Census 2021 , Union ministry of social justice and empowerment replied that conducting such an exercise is “administratively difficult and cumbersome”, reported The Hindu.
Last month, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had led an all-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, demanding for caste census. The CM had told reporters that the PM listened to their demands carefully and asked for time to think on the issue.
Political observers said the brawl over caste census demand within Bihar NDA may further exacerbate as JD-U leaders and opposition parties seem unwilling to roll back the demand.
After central government’s reply in the top court, all eyes are set on Bihar CM Nitish Kumar as to how he reacts more because he also had led the campaign describing caste based census is in the public interest.