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Opposition parties in Bihar support ruling JD(U) over caste-based census demand

PATNA: Despite political differences in the state, opposition parties in Bihar including Congress, RJD and  HAM have come out in support of JD(U) over the latter’s demand for a nationwide caste-based census. The opposition support to JD(U) may cause a little bit worry to BJP, at least in Bihar, ahead of the next assembly elections in 2020.

Some leaders of NDA see it as an “in-between” pressure on  a major ally  while some senior leaders, albeit off the record, see it an alternate poll plank in place of a long coming demand for the special status to Bihar.

“Whatever be the reason, the demand raised in the parliament for a caste-based census by JD(U) MP Rajiv Ranjan Singh can be a tool to woo the voters of majority of extremely poor communities,” said Dr RK Verma, who is conducting a research on “How long the caste-chemistry to continue in the core of Bihar politics”.

The Congress came out in support to this demand of JD(U) on Wednesday. Congress MLC Prem Chandra Mishra told the media that an all-party meeting should be conveyed by the government over this issue to start the process. Mishra echoed the same political sentiment that the JD(U) has echoed in the Parliament recently over it.

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar had also vociferously demanded the process for the caste-based census in the house while speaking over  the CAA. He has reiterated the party’s commitment on the caste-based census and requested the Centre to ponder over it seriously.

Leader of opposition from RJD Tejashawi Yadav has also demanded it and said that the caste-based census was the need of hour. “The RJD is the first which has been making a demand for cast based census for long time as Lalu Prasad Yadav had made it one of his party’s poll promises,” RJD spokesperson Chitranjan Gagan said.

Danish Rizwan, a senior leader-cum-spokesperson of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) also welcomed the JD-U demanding for it and said, “The caste-based census is needed to decide fresh ratio of reservation to those who are still under development and below the poverty line. The HAM party also dwmands for it and think it imperative to know the status of people of various castes and their statues.”

When asked about the BJP’s stance on it, party spokesperson and research scholar Dr Nikhil Anand said, “While some political parties are demanding it, the BJP is not strictly averse to the idea. But there should be a consensus among all political parties nationwide before we make a decision on it.”

He said that Bihar government, of which the BJP is also a part, has already passed a resolution from the state assembly to request the Union government for conducting of caste-based census in 2021.

LJP leader Awadhesh Kumar Singh also said that if the caste-based is done, it will certainly help in understanding the exact demography of each caste and their both social and economic status. The caste-based census was first carried out last time in 1930 and caste related figures and data were collected in 2010 during the census exercises but the report on it is still pending.

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