PATNA—Amid wideening rift between the two ruling NDA partners in Bihar—the JD-U and the BJP—over the issue of caste-based census, Bihar opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav has accused the Prime Minister of insulting chief minister Nitish Kumar by not giving him time for a meeting.
Kumar who has been constantly seeking for caste census sought time from the PM on 4 August but he is yet to get appointment even nine days after his requests.
“If he has not been granted time for a week now, somehow it is an insult to the CM,” RJD leader Tejashwi told newsmen on Friday.
The RJD leader also wondered as how the PM continues ignoring the Bihar chief minister while during the same period, he did meet the chief ministers of West Bengal and Punjab, Miss Mamata Banerjee and Amarinder Singh respectively.
“But what is surprising, Nitish Kumar is not getting time for meeting from the PM. This is despite the fact that the people of Bihar voted overwhelmingly for the NDA in the last Lok Sabha polls,” Tejashwi said.
The NDA was able to win 39 seats out of total 40 during the last Lok Sabha elections held in 2019—while the BJP bagged 17 seats, the JD-U won 16. The LJP, on the other hand, won all the six LS seats offered under the seat-sharing arrangement.
Last week, the chief minister himself had admitted he was not granted time despite his letter already reaching the PMO four days back.
“We are yet to get a response in this regard. We want holding of caste census but this all depends on the Centre,” was how the chief minister told the media on Monday.
The chief minister had written to the PM after a meeting he held with all opposition leaders who suggested that the matter be taken up with the Centre since there is a unanimity on the issue in Bihar where resolutions to the effect have been twice passed in the legislature.
Tejashwi in the meanwhile has shot off a letter to the PM, seeking for caste-based census for lifting the status of the backward/extremely backward castes who have been feeling ignored for decades.
He said the Centre has announced in the parliament not to conduct the caste-based census this time which is very unfortunate.
“In such a situation, the country will not have the exact data about the educational, social, political and economic status of the backwards/extremely backward castes which will obviously impede their proper upliftment,” Tejashwi said.
He said the last such census was conducted 90 years back in 1931 and hence it is the demand of the majority population for a caste census.
He also wondered how the BJP had wholeheartedly supported the resolutions for conducting caste census which was passed twice from the Bihar assembly—first time on 18 February 2019 and secondly on 27 February 2020.
He said currently the NDA governments is in power both at the Centre and in the state and interestingly this has also been the demand of the NDA but the government now seems to be dragging its feet over the issue. He has threatened to sit on at Jantar Mantar in Delhi if their demand was not met.