Caste Based Census: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar along with a delegation of leaders from 10 political parties is holding a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi today to discuss the issue of conducting a caste-based census. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav has also accompanied the Bihar CM.Also Read|Both Factions Of Hurriyat Conference ‘To Be Banned’ Under UAPA: OfficialsSpeaking to the reports ahead of the meeting, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar said, “It is a crucial issue and we have been seeking this for a long time. It if works out, nothing could be better than that. Moreover, it would not just be for Bihar, people in the whole country will benefit from this. It should be done at least once. We will put forward our views from this angle.”
Political parties react to Nitish Kumar’s proposal for caste-based censusBihar Minister and BJP leader Janak Ram did not reveal if the saffron party is in support of the proposal and said, “I’m part of the delegation led by Nitish Kumar Ji that will meet PM today. On the issue of caste-based census, whatever decision the PM takes should be acceptable to us.”Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav said, “Twice resolutions have been passed in Bihar Assembly for caste census in the state. With such a census we can get data that can help in preparing relevant benefit schemes for people from different sections of society.”Yadav further said that since the Centre has approved the OBC Amendment Bill, the states need to have a caste-based census to implement the provisions mentioned in the bill.Congress leader Ajeet Sharma who is a part of the delegation said, “Caste-based census is very important. If the reservation is made transparent, malice in society will go away -everyone will get to know the percentage of people in the creamy layer & non-creamy layer. It should be implemented across the country & not only in BiharAjay Kumar from CPI(M) said, “We told the CM that we should meet PM because it (caste-based census) is needed, caste-based exploitation takes place even today. Caste-based census will be like a mirror to help rectify this. So, we will meet PM today, under the leadership of CM Nitish Kumar.”Mukesh Sahni, president of Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) and minister in Bihar government, told ANI that a caste-based census will help in collecting information on many small castes who have been so far kept away from the purview of development. This will in turn let the government make better policies for them, he said.”I am a minister in Bihar for the animal and fisheries department and we are counting a number of animals to know how many horses, elephants, camels and other animals there are in our state. If you keep information about animals then why not keep information about humans,” he added.The demand for a caste census was triggered by a statement by the Centre in Parliament last month that populations of only SCs and STs were proposed to be enumerated.In states like Bihar, where OBCs have dominated politics since the Mandal era, this has led to a vociferous demand for a headcount of backward classes as well. Kumar reiterated that there is a countrywide sentiment in favour of a caste census being conducted at least once. There should be no misgivings as such an exercise will be beneficial for all social groups.