PATNA: RJD chief Lalu Prasad today described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an "enemy of backward castes" for holding back the caste census figures and challenged him to publish it.
"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," Prasad said while taking out a procession to the Raj Bhawan demanding publishing of the caste census.
What is the intention of the Central government in holding it back, the RJD chief asked stating that socio-economic caste census was conducted on "our demands" and at the initiative of the previous UPA government.
"The socio-economic part of the data was released showing the poor condition of our countrymen, but the caste part has been held back. The people has a right to know about the numbers and condition of castes and we demand its immediate release," he added.
Prasad was speaking after his march, which was stopped by the administration before the Raj Bhawan.
"The caste census figures will help formulate policies for those castes that are lagging behind in development. Once we get these data, we will demand a separate budget for education, employment and other developmental activities of these castes," he said.
Prasad asserted that his party will agitate non-stop till the figures are released and will call a 'Bihar bandh' to demand it.
The RJD chief announced July 25 as the date for Bihar bandh while speaking to his supporters, but withdrew it after realising that the Prime Minister will be visiting Patna and Muzaffarpur on that day. The party will announce another date for bandh later on.
Vowing to launch an agitation bigger than Mandal Commission for caste census figures, Prasad said the present scheme of reservation in educational institutions and government jobs was based on caste census conducted in 1931.
"As per the 1931 census and also the Mandal Commission report, the OBCs were 54 per cent of the population, which has now increased to 70-80 per cent. Even if we take them to be 60 per cent only and SC and ST at 30 per cent, the forward castes will be just 10 per cent," Prasad said.
He said the BJP led Central government was afraid to make caste census figures public as it will lead to the backward castes demanding proportionate reservation in education, employment and other resources.