PATNA: In the wake of the debate around the caste-based census, recent statements by senior JDU leader Upendra Kushwaha may widen the faultlines within the ruling NDA in Bihar.
Speaking at a seminar organised by Socialist Thinkers, Kushwaha said the JDU may be a part of the NDA but if their demands are not met, a confrontation will surely happen.
Further stressing that caste census is the need of the hour, Kushwaha said that it will be dishonest if it is not allowed to happen.
"When Prime Minister Narendra Modi describes himself as a backward community, we feel proud of it and hope that he will consider Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's demand for a caste-based census. Even though we are a part of the NDA, there will be a confrontation if the demand is not met," he said at the seminar that comes two days after an all-party delegation met with the PM in New Delhi.
He also asked why the Centre was hesitant when the resolution was already passed by the Manmohan Singh government in 2010 and Union Minister Rajnath Singh had also given his assurance during the first term of the NDA government.
This is not the first time that Kushwaha is making such controversial statements. Earlier this month, he had declared CM Nitish Kumar as "PM material", leaving the BJP cautious over its alliance with the JDU.
Meanwhile, many BJP leaders have dubbed the demand for a caste-based census as "illogical" and a "threat to national unity." Union minister Giriraj Singh said that the demand for the caste based census should not be turned into a political isue. Another senior leader Dr CP Thakur opined that the census should be based on economic criteria and not on caste.
Sources in the NDA have said parties are making such demands eyeing the next Lok Sabha elections. "None of the political parties exhibited such unity in Bihar when it came to the issue of special status for the state like they are showing for the caste-based census. One can only imagine how far political parties are genuinely concerned about the development of the state. Everyone does politics for the sake of politics," said a political analyst.