Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said that he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 23 to discuss the caste-based census.
Taking to Twitter, Nitish Kumar said: "I had sought an appointment with the PM to meet him along with a delegation from Bihar to conduct the caste-based census. I thank him for giving us time on August 23."
Kumar told reporters on Saturday that a delegation of leaders from 10 parties would be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday to demand a nationwide caste-based Census.
"A delegation, comprising a representative each from 10 parties, is going to meet PM Narendra Modi on Monday over demand for a caste Census," CM Nitish Kumar said on Saturday.
"It is the desire of the people that there must be a caste Census. I hope there will be a positive discussion on this," he added.
Nitish's Janata Dal (United) is an ally of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar and favours caste-based census. The Chief Minister has been advocating for a caste-based census in the country and had thus sought an appointment with the Prime Minister.
"The demand of the caste census is not just the demand from Bihar but other states also. Our party MPs had written a letter seeking time to meet the Prime Minister. The opposition parties in Bihar also wanted to meet the Prime Minister with us. We had written a letter to the Prime Minister regarding this," he had said on Monday.
Meanwhile, launching a scathing on the Bihar Chief Minister, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav on Wednesday asked if Nitish Kumar is ally or slave of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Yadav's remarks came when he was asked to comment on caste-based census. The RJD has been demanding caste-based census. "We have been writing to the Prime Minister from August 4, to talk about caste census but the PM has no time to meet the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Is Nitish Kumar an ally or a slave of PM?" he asked.
What is the issue?
The caste-based census and its impact on the country's political landscape remain a sensitive issue for the government, given the fact that seven states will go for assembly polls over the next year.
Nitish said a resolution regarding the caste-based census was passed unanimously in Bihar Legislative Assembly as well as the Legislative Council in 2019. A resolution was passed unanimously once again in 2020 in the state Legislative Assembly.
Meanwhile, the BJP seems to be not in favour of a caste-based census as it had firmly stated in the Parliament’s recently concluded Monsoon Session that it will not undertake a caste-based survey as a policy matter.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, BJP allies such as the JD-U, Apna Dal and Republican Party of India-Athawale have raised the demand for holding a caste-based census.
According to Financial Express, till now there is no clarity over the population of OBCs. The Mandal commission estimated OBCs constituted about 52% of the population, but the NSSO survey of 2007 put the number at 41 per cent. This increases the chances of possible errors in the upcoming census.
The demand for a caste census is an old and sensitive one. Castes begun to be officially enumerated in the British era and the last caste census was conducted in 1931.
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