Hours after Bihar government released its caste survey data, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday accused the Opposition of “trying to divide the country in the name of caste”. Without referring to the survey data, PM Modi said that Opposition failed to “secure development” and slammed them for playing with the feelings of poor. Modi’s stinging remarks against the Opposition came in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior.
“They played with emotions of the poor back then… and even today they are playing the same game. Earlier they divided the country in the name of caste… and today they are committing the same sin. Earlier they were guilty of corruption… and today they are even more corrupt,” the prime minister told a large gathering in Gwalior.
In a move that could have political ramifications in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Bihar government earlier today released the data of its caste-based survey. According to the survey findings, Backward Classes constitute 27.1 per cent of Bihar’s total population. Of the 27.1 per cent Backward Classes, Yadav’s constitute 14.2 per cent, Kushwaha’s 4.27 per cent and Kurmi’s 2.8 per cent.
The state has 36 per cent people belonging to the Extremely Backward Classes. Scheduled Castes population in Bihar stands at 19.7 per cent while Scheduled Tribes at just 1.7 per cent. General people make up 15.5 per cent of the state’s total population of 13.1 crore.
The Congress party has announced to carry out a caste census in Madhya Pradesh soon after coming to power. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had last week said that “after coming to power, first thing we will do is to go for caste-based census to know exact number of OBCs.”
Reacting to Bihar government’s caste survey data, the Congress leader reiterated his demand that “the union government conduct a national caste census at the earliest.”
PM Modi’s remarks are being seen as a response to both – Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Congress party. Nitish has also been quite vocal about the idea of carrying out a nation-wide caste-based census. During the meeting of Opposition’s INDIA bloc partners in Bengaluru early this year, a resolution to carry out the caste census was also passed.