There is increasing pressure on the central government to conduct caste based census. Now Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will meet Prime Minister Modi today to demand a caste-based census across the country. Nitish Kumar will meet the PM along with a delegation of leaders of 10 parties. All eyes are on this meeting. This discussion of caste-based census is being considered very important in view of the elections to be held in seven states next year. Nitish Kumar has already made it clear that if these talks are successful then it is great, otherwise he will consider conducting it in Bihar.
Nitish Kumar said, “This is an important issue and we have been demanding it for a long time. If it does, nothing can get better than this. Moreover, it will not be just for Bihar, people all over the country will benefit from it. This should be done at least once. We will present our views from this angle to the PM on Monday.
Nitish Kumar’s party Janata Dal (United) is an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar and is in favor of a caste-based census. When Nitish Kumar was asked if the matter would be resolved on Monday, he said, “We will see, some people have already reached Delhi and some will go with me. Tomorrow we will meet at 11 o’clock.”
Nitish Kumar left for New Delhi on Sunday evening. Earlier this month, a JD(U) delegation led by party national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and pushed for a caste-based census. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLA and Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav has asked the Nitish government to do it “on its own” if the Center refuses to back down from its stand. Yadav had met the CM on the issue on July 30, the last day of the monsoon session of the Bihar Legislative Assembly.
Nitish Kumar told reporters on Saturday, “People’s desire is to have a census on the basis of caste. I hope there will be a positive discussion on this. If caste census is not conducted by the Center in the country, it will be considered by the government in Bihar.”
The last caste-based census was conducted and released in 1931, while in 1941, the data was collected but not made public. In 2011, a socio-economic caste census was conducted, but the data was not made public again on the grounds of “discrepancies”.
The caste-based census is a sensitive issue for the government in view of the assembly elections to be held in seven states next year. Several political parties have come together to demand a caste-based census. BJP allies like JD-U, Apna Dal and Republican Party of India-Athawale have raised the demand for a caste-based census. Several opposition parties like Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Samajwadi Party are also demanding that this exercise should be done.