Caste census: Nitish to hold all party meeting on way forward

Move follows Centre’s affidavit in SC that such an enumeration will not be feasible

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday reiterated that holding a caste-based census in the country is the “need of the hour”, and said he would hold an all-party meeting after the Central government informed the Supreme Court that conducting such a census was not feasible.

Last month leaders of 10 political parties from Bihar, led by Mr. Kumar, had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to demand a caste-based census in the country.

An 11-member, all party delegation led by Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren had also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday demanding a caste-based census.

“Caste-based census is a legitimate demand and need of the hour. The Central government should think over it as it is pro-development and will help policy makers frame targeted welfare policies for backward class. It (caste-based census) must take place. We’ll hold an all-party meeting again over this issue in Bihar,” Mr. Kumar told media persons in Delhi.

Mr. Kumar was speaking after attending a high-level meeting on Left Wing extremism.

On Saturday, Leader of Opposition in State Assembly Tejashwi Yadav had written to 33 non-BJP leaders for the demand of caste-based census in the country. “The ruling party does not have a single rational reason against conducting caste based census,” Mr Yadav said in his two-page letter. The RJD leader had earlier served a three-day ultimatum to Mr. Kumar to reveal the next step after the Centre’s refusal.

While listing benefits of a caste-based census in the country, Mr Soren said the data would help “in providing reservation to backward people, help in framing better policies and their implementation for development of backward class people and this will also help in exposing social, economic and social inequalities in society, and then after in providing their solution in democratic manner.”

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