PATNA: The Bihar legislature is all set to pass a unanimous resolution seeking a countrywide caste-based Census and forward it to the Centre as desired by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who faces attacks from the Opposition RJD over his support for 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections (EWS).
Kumar proposed the idea for a unanimous resolution while speaking on reservation in the Assembly on Wednesday. The move is widely seen as a smart tactic to dilute RJD’s efforts to paint him as a champion of the anti-reservation group. When Kumar asked if legislators of JD(U)’s ally BJP supported the idea, the saffron party’s MLAs expressed their assent immediately in chorus.
“The socio-economic caste census conducted in 2011 was in fact a survey and it was not a census. It was not done properly. We have been demanding a caste-based census across the country. This House should pass a resolution for it and forward it to the Centre,” said Kumar, adding that he has been raising the demand for a caste-based census since the early 1990s.
Clarifying his stand on the 10 per cent reservation for the EWS effected by a Constitutional amendment recently, Kumar said he does not want any tampering with the 50 per cent reservation already available because of the new quota provision.
“I do not think anyone should have objections to the 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections. This is an additional provision, over and above the already available 50 per cent,” he added. His clarifications left the Opposition RJD legislators speechless, and they supported his call for a resolution in the House.
Opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav of RJD has accused Kumar, who is also JD(U) national president, of harming the interests of the backward castes and Dalits by supporting the 10 per cent EWS quota “at the behest of BJP and RSS”.
Kumar also came out openly in defence of the 200-point roster system for recruiting college and university teachers. Yadav recently attended demonstrations by students in New Delhi in protest of the new 13-point roster system, which he said drastically cuts the number of posts reserved for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes.