Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday asserted that "it will not take long" before work began on a state-level caste-based census, which he has agreed to after inability expressed by the Centre to conduct the same on a national level.
Talking to reporters here, the chief minister said he had also made this known to leader of the opposition Tejashwi Yadav who met him last week to discuss the issue.
"Zyada der nahin lagega (it will not take long)... We will convene an all-party meeting where representatives can give their suggestions. It will be followed by a cabinet approval. Modalities like how many officials to deploy etc will also be worked out," said Kumar.
The JD(U) leader said the proposed all-party meeting could have taken place earlier but for "other engagements like elections which kept all busy".
"Humne unko bata diya hai (I have told him)," said Kumar when asked about the meeting he had with Yadav, his former deputy, who had been alleging procrastination on the issue.
The Centre has made it clear that it will not be able to conduct a headcount of castes other than Dalits and tribals as part of the census, notwithstanding strong demand for the same from political parties in Bihar where resolutions have been twice passed, unanimously, by the state legislature.
The state's politics has been dominated by the OBCs, the numerically powerful social group to which both Kumar and Yadav belong and they are of the view that a fresh estimate of population was necessary to ensure a more effective delivery of targeted welfare.
Notably, Kumar had also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press the demand last year, heading an all-party delegation of which Yadav, who belongs to the RJD, was also a part.