A day after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar decided to convened an all-party meeting to discuss the issue of caste-based census, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi, on Tuesday, claimed that his party is not against the proposal. His statement comes at a time when BJP’s Bihar wing leaders realised that they should not stop or delay caste census in the state further after the announcement of the chief minister.
BJP’s Bihar leadership has come to an understanding that it would be better for them to catch the bus rather than miss it. The idea would be to at least claim before the people of the state that they were not against the process, said a political expert.
Calling the allegation that BJP is against the caste-based census baseless, Modi said, “The saffron party never opposed caste-based census in Bihar or in any other state. When the all-party delegation met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a senior state minister from BJP quota Janak Ram was a part of it. Similarly, when the all-party delegation of Jharkhand went to Delhi to meet PM Modi on the same issue, our Leader of Opposition in Jharkhand Deepak Prakash also participated.”
He further said, “Had we been against it, we would not have been a part of the delegation. These delegations put a demand before PM Modi that the Centre would conduct a caste-based census in the country. The Centre had said that it is not possible for it to conduct caste census in the country but tha state governments are independent to conduct the same in their respective states.”
Pointing out that the caste-based census was passed twice in the Bihar Legislative Assembly and Bihar Legislative Council, Modi said the BJP supported it all along.
“Even we were not against the socio-economic census passed in Parliament in 2010. On that occasion, Gopinath Munde and Hukumdev Prasad Yadav during their speech in the House had supported it. Even when caste-based census was held in Karnataka (Sarva Kukumb Surve in Karnataka) and Telangana (2015), BJP did not oppose it,” he said.