‘Our agenda is population control, not caste census,’ BJP curtly tells Nitish
PATNA—The ruling NDA partners, the BJP and the JD-U, are treading different paths in Bihar despite being together in the government, so it seems.
Days after Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said he was awaiting his partner’s response for holding an all-party meeting over caste census, the BJP has now made it clear that caste census was not in its agenda.
“Population control, and not the caste census, is the agenda of the BJP. We (Bihar unit of the BJP) are with the central leadership over the issue of caste census,” BJP lead and minister for forest and environment Neeraj Kumar Babloo was quoted as telling the local media on Saturday.
The BJP in September last year defended the Central government’s affidavit in the Supreme Court explaining its inability to conduct a caste census as part of the regular census exercise of 2021.
Babloo added that the NDA partners have separate agendas and they are free to follow their own priorities. He, however, denied the BJP ministers were disobeying the orders of the chief minister.
While the JD-U has been consistent on the issue of conducting caste census, the BJP, on the other hand, has been seeking for a law for population control.
Bihar chief minister, however, keeps on saying that improvement in literacy rate will automatically bring down the fertility rate in Bihar. According to him, the fertility rate in the state has come down to 3 from 4.3 previously.
“We decided to make arrangements for education up to Intermediate level in all the panchayats, which would reduce the fertility rate. We emphasised the need to educate girls,” the chief minister was quoted as saying at a function held on December 18, 2021.