After much political murmuring, an all-party meeting led by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over conducting a caste-based census will be held on June 1, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling alliance partner of the Janata Dal (United) [JD(U)], too is likely to participate in it.
Bihar Parliamentary Affairs Minister and senior JD(U) functionary Vijay Kumar Choudhary said all political parties have given their consent for the meeting to be held at 4.00 p.m. “Based on the meeting, the matter can be brought before the Cabinet for a final decision to be taken at the government level”, he stated.
“The Chief Minister had announced to conduct a caste-based census on the State’s resources after the Prime Minister expressed his inability to include the caste enumeration along with the census”, Mr. Choudhary said on Tuesday.
‘All is well’ in NDA
Sources in the BJP told The Hindu that the party too was likely to participate in the meeting. State BJP president Sanjay Jaiswal has chosen to keep mum over the issue but some senior leaders said “all is well” in the NDA. “Yes, the BJP too can participate in the meeting. It was part of an all-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue. What’s wrong in it?”, said a senior BJP leader, preferring anonymity.
Earlier, when an all-party delegation had gone to meet Mr. Modi to demand a caste-based census, BJP leader Janak Ram too was a member of it.
The Assembly had passed resolutions twice, in 2019 and 2020, over the issue and sent resolutions to the Centre to include caste census in the 2021 general census exercise. However, the Central government ruled out conducting a caste-based census on the ground that it will be a “divisive exercise”.
Political analysts Ajay Kumar told The Hindu, “I fail to understand why such delay in holding an all-party meeting over the caste census in the State? If Nitish Kumar wants to hold it, he could hold the meeting any day but there must be something between the lines to read into the whole exercise” .