PATNA: RJD strongman Lalu Prasad on Monday took to the streets along with party workers demanding immediate release of the caste-based census data by the Centre in a fresh attempt to consolidate the OBC votes ahead of September-October’s Bihar elections.
Accompanied by his two sons -- Tej Pratap and Tejasvi Yadav -- Lalu seated in an open jeep led the protest march to the Raj Bhavan here.” Why is the Centre withholding the caste related data?” he said. Lalu, while calling upon the Dalits OBCs and Muslims to unite against Narendra Modi Government, did not spare the Prime either. “Modi claims to be from backward caste, but he is actually an enemy of the backward castes. I challenge him to publish the caste data if he really hails from backward community.” “We will launch a bigger movement than the Mandal movement of the 1990s if Modi Government failed to make the caste-based census data public, he said.
Issuing an ultimatum to the NDA Government, the RJD chief said that his party would soon launch statewide protests besides calling a Bihar bandh call to press the demand. Interestingly, the RJD has the backing of allies like the JD(U), the Congress and the NCP on the issue. “The census figures related to caste would be of a great help in formulating policies for the poor and downtrodden. On the basis of new data we will demand a separate Budget for education and employment for those castes lagging behind,” Lalu said.
However, state BJP leader Nand Kishor Yadav, who is also Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, pointed out that Lalu ought to take the blame for the backward communities lack of development since the RJD, the JD(U) and the Congress had ruled the state for over eight decades.