Greeva Garg –

Published on: August 23, 2021, at 18:28 IST

An 11-member all-party delegation from Bihar led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the conduct of a caste-based census all over country and called on him to take the appropriate decision.

The delegation comprised of Nitish Kumar’s arch-rival Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Janak Ram, a State Minister; Congress leader Ajeet Sharma and those from Left parties; former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and President of the Hindustani Awam Morcha.

“People in Bihar and the entire country are of the same opinion on this issue. We are grateful to the Prime Minister for listening to us. We urge him to take an appropriate decision with unified criteria,” Nitish Kumar said after the meeting.

Nitish Kumar insists that it will only lead to better policies to help neglected sections of the society.

The delegation had underlined the benefits to the nation by holding a caste-based census and notified the Prime Minister that the Bihar Assembly had already passed two resolutions on holding a caste-based census.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav said, “We are awaiting a decision now. If the centre feared a caste-based census would lead to tension, collecting information on religion should also be avoided.”

Bihar political parties have been united in calling for a caste census. For the BJP, however, this is a politically tricky subject given that the state agenda in Bihar is at odds with the national view.

The Central Government has long held that a caste-based assessment could deepen divides.

On July 20, junior Home Minister Nityanand Rai said, “The Government has decided, as a matter of policy, not to enumerate caste-wise populations other than Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the census. The last time a caste-based count took place was in 1931. That was under British rule, and when Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha were one entity.”

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