Amid the rift between the BJP and the JD(U) over caste based census, the former seems to have softened its stand on the issue. Bihar’s deputy chief minister Renu Devi on Saturday said that the state government can conduct a caste based census on its own.
Renu Devi, during the Sahyog program on Saturday said: “The Karnataka and Odisha governments have conducted caste based census at their own expense. The Bihar government is also independent on opting for the same. Though, the central government has a clear stand of not to conduct caste based census in the country.”
Earlier, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar while advocating a caste based census, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to consider the same. Some JD(U) ministers have openly said that if the Centre would not conduct a caste based census, the Bihar government is capable of doing that at its own expense.
Besides Renu Devi, Ram Surat Rai, another minister in the Nitish Kumar government under the BJP quota, advocated a caste based census in Bihar.
The Bihar legislature has twice passed a resolution for a caste based census unanimously — on February 18, 2019 and February 27, 2020.
The JD(U) has support from the opposition RJD and another ally of the NDA — the Hindustan Awami Morcha (HAM) — on the issue.
The BJP has however supported caste-based census only for SC/ST, which constitute only 15 per cent of the total population.