NEW DELHI: Reiterating the demand of caste-based census, Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav on Wednesday claimed that BJP leader Arun Jaitley had given a written assurance on the matter.
"When I was MP, other leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Sharad Yadav along with me fought in Lok Sabha for a caste-based census. Arun Jaitley had given a written assurance earlier. We are very hopeful about it. It should be done to understand the population and economic status," Yadav told ANI.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with the delegation of 10 parties led by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in the national capital to discuss a caste-based census.
Briefing media persons after the meeting, Nitish Kumar said, "The Prime Minister listened to all members of the delegation on caste census. We urged Prime Minister to take an appropriate decision on it. We briefed him on how resolutions have been passed twice in the state Assembly on caste census."
"Recently a minister from the central government gave a statement that the caste-based census will not be conducted. This made us anxious. Following this, all parties in Bihar including the Opposition met on the issue. It was then proposed to meet Prime Minister on the issue," he added.
The Bihar Chief Minister said it is Prime Minister who has to now take a call on the caste-based census.
"People in Bihar and the entire country are of the same opinion on this issue. We are grateful to the PM for listening to us. Now, he has to take a decision on it," Kumar told ANI.
Leader of Opposition in Bihar Legislative Assembly and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav who was also a part of the delegation said, "Our delegation met the Prime Minister today not only for caste census in Bihar but in the entire country. We are awaiting a decision on this now."
However, the central government has so far refused to accede to the demand.On July 20, in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai had said: "The Government of India has decided as a matter of policy not to enumerate caste-wise populations other than SCs and STs in the census."
On March 10, 2021, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had clarified on caste-related details received from the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) 2011 to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. In a reply, the Union Home Ministry said that raw caste data has been provided to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) for the classification and categorisation of the data.
"The Office of the Registrar General, India had provided logistics and technical support in conducting the SECC-2011. The raw caste data has been provided to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) for the classification and categorization of the data. As informed by MoSJE, there is no proposal to release the caste data at this stage," the Home Ministry had said.