PATNA: Amid a rift in Bihar’s Opposition Grand Alliance over the 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker sections (EWS) in the unreserved category, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said his government is ready to implement the new reservation and that legal opinion is being sought on how to introduce the provision.
After Gujarat, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, Bihar is going to be the fifth state to roll out the Constitution (103rd)) Amendment Act, which provides 10 per cent reservation in government jobs and educational institutes for the EWS in the general category.
“We are going to implement it in the state. We are now considering the proper mode to introduce it after the amendment in the Constitution – whether to do it through an executive order or by passing an Act in the legislature. We are taking legal opinion on the matter,” said Kumar, who is also JD(U) national president, to reporters after his ‘Lok Samvad’ (dialogue with public) programme.
The new reservation provision having already been hailed by Bihar’s upper caste communities, the state’s NDA government is likely to introduce the quota through an executive order, said sources in the ruling JD(U) and BJP. “For an Act to be passed in the state legislature, we have to wait till the Assembly’s budget session that begins on February 11. Wasting these 20 days in the run-up to the polls would be unwise,” said a senior BJP leader.
Keeping in mind JD(U)’s support base among the OBC communities and the main Opposition party RJD’s protests against the 10 per cent quota for the general castes, Kumar also advocated increased reservation for the OBCs.
“We are bound by the 50 per cent cap on reservation… I think a caste-based Census should take place in the entire country in 2021. It has not happened since 1931. It has been one of our top demands. Why cannot there be a Census for all castes just like it happens for the SC-STs? It will pave the way for proportional reservation for all communities,” said Kumar.
Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD has been demanding since the last Lok Sabha polls that the Centre should make public the caste-based data collected in the 2011 Census.