PATNA: The main opposition party in Bihar — Rashtriya Janata Dal — on Wednesday exuded confidence that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar would show courage and go ahead with caste-based census without the consent of his ruling ally BJP.
Talking to the media on the sidelines of a workers’ meeting to chalk out strategy for the upcoming election to 24 seats of the state legislative council, the RJD state president Jagadanand Singh said RJD would support Nitish on this issue.
The RJD state president was reacting to Nitish’s statement that an all-party meeting got delayed waiting for BJP’s nod.
“There is no point waiting for BJP’s response. It is already too late to convene an all-party meeting to finalise modalities of the caste headcount.”
Earlier, RJD national general secretary Shyam Rajak had offered to support Nitish if the latter went ahead with the caste based-census using the state’s own resources.
“A delegation of leaders of political parties had earlier met PM Narendra Modi and urged him to allow caste-based census. However, nothing happened on this front,” Rajak lamented.
The RJD state chief said the Central government has given enough indications about caste-based census.
“The Centre is not in favour of holding caste head counts, except for the people belonging to SC/ST. The chief minister is delaying the process for reasons best known to him,” he added.
Two allies of the state NDA — Vikassheel Insaan Party and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) — had already agreed to the demand for a caste census in the state. “Caste census is for the benefit of a larger section of the society,” VIP’s chief spokesperson Dev Jyoti said.
Though Janak Ram, a minister in the Nitish cabinet, was part of a delegation handed over a memorandum to PM Modi last year, the state BJP is keeping the matter under wraps for its political gains.