In what could be a clever counter-position by the JD(U), Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said the government will soon call an all-party meeting to clear the way for the state to conduct its own census, the proposal will then start being directed from through the cabinet.
Buy now | Our best subscription plan now has a special price
Speaking to reporters here, the Prime Minister said, “We are trying to hold an all-party meeting on the caste census. Some political parties have given their consent to the meeting. Once the views of all political parties are heard, they will be brought to the state cabinet.” Nitish has always been implying that Bihar has its own class census even though the central government has remained loose on it.
Nitish’s plan has put the BJP in the awkward position of the central BJP’s ambivalence on the matter. However, the state’s unity in the BJP was part of a unanimous resolution passed in the state legislature and was also part of an all-party delegation from the state to discuss the matter with the center last year.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar played the role of stroke by deciding to conduct a stratified census. Having meticulously developed a base between OBCs and non-Yadav SCs, he takes a caste census attempt to broaden his constituency base. As per the 2011 census, the population of Bihar is Rs 10.04 crore, of which 13% are upper castes, 17% are Muslims and the rest are OBCs, EBCs, SCs and STs. The Mandal Commission has rated the OBCs at 54%, but several politicians in Bihar, including the Nitish, claim it could be even higher if they are counted again.
Although the BJP is a major partner in the NDA coalition led by JD(U), it will now be difficult for him to oppose Nitish’s idea of a caste census, especially when the latter has the support of the opposition RJD on the issue.
The Cabinet recently held a one-on-one meeting with opposition leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav.
The class census move is seen as a “political ingenuity” of Nitich. JD(U) insiders say the idea is to get BJP ally “to stick to the class census and not just talk about”Spka Sath, Spka Vikas“.