Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar along with a 10-member all-party delegation from the state on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press the demand for a caste-based census.
Leader of opposition in the Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav, former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, ministers in the Bihar government Janak Ram, Mukesh Sahani and Vijay Kumar Choudhary, Leader of Congress Legislature Party Ajit Sharma, Suryakant Paswan of the CPI, Mahboob Alam (CPI-ML), Akhtarul Imam (AIMIM), and Ajay Kumar (CPI-M) were part of the delegation led by Nitish Kumar.
It is learned that during the meeting both Kumar and Yadav strongly pressed for the caste-based census.
After the meeting, Nitish Kumar said that the Prime Minister listened to the points of every leader.
“I was the one who addressed the Prime Minister first. I said that the proposal regarding caste-based census came from the leader of opposition in Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav and we all agreed on it. The Prime Minister listened to the points of every member of the delegation. We are expecting a positive outcome from the Prime Minister,” Kumar said.
When asked about the Prime Minister’s stand on the issue, Kumar said, “He (Modi) did not deny it (caste census) and heard everyone patiently. A caste-based census will help in formulating various development plans effectively.”
Tejashwi Yadav was the second leader who addressed Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the meeting. While interacting with the media, he said: “We are hopeful that the Prime Minister will allow conducting a caste-based census.
“Caste-based census should happen not only in Bihar but in the entire nation. It will help the proper diversion of resources. It is inevitable. It will be a historic measure in helping the poor. If animals and trees can be counted, then why not people on castes. When the government has no scientific data on the population, how can it make welfare policies,” said Yadav.
When reporters asked Tejashwi whether the Prime Minister would turn down their call, CM Nitish Kumar intervened and said, “It is too early to come to a conclusion. Let’s wait for the decision of the Prime Minister.”
The issue of a caste-based census has been a longstanding demand of the political parties in Bihar. The Bihar legislature had twice unanimously passed resolutions for the caste-based census in 2019 and 2020. On both occasions, all BJP MLAs had also voted in support of a caste-based census.
Caste-based Census other than for SCs and STs has not been undertaken in the country after 1931.