Bihar continues to demand for caste based census

Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said he would convene an all-party meeting over holding caste-based census in Bihar only after getting the viewpoint of ally BJP.

“We want to hold an all-party meeting over the caste-based census. We held talks with political parties. I have asked the deputy CM to talk to the leaders of his party (BJP). I have spoken to the leaders of the rest of the political parties. When he (deputy CM) would talk with his party leaders and inform us about his talk, after that, an all-party meeting would be convened,” Nitish said while responding to a media query on the issue. He was responding to media queries after his weekly “Janta Ke Darbar Mein Mukhyamantri” programme.

The CM also said he wanted to convene an all-party meeting because the leaders of all p[political parties should have a clear-cut understanding over the issue of caste-wise census.

“Every political party would have a consensus over how we will conduct the caste-wise census. I am making all necessary preparations on how the headcounts will be done, what will be the method and how it will be executed. When all political parties reach a consensus over the caste-wise census, we will finalize the method and process of headcounts at the meeting. When all the political parties reach a consensus on the process, the state government will make an announcement based on the consensus,” Nitish said.

The CM, who has since long been reiterating the demand of a nation-wide caste-based headcount during Census-2021, further said he had always been in favour of caste-based census.

“Caste-wise census will benefit all social groups. It is a very legitimate matter. We will hold the headcounts in a proper manner so that no one is missed,” he said.

Nitish also said, “During the headcount, many people will tell their sub-caste, they may not tell their caste. The enumerators will be trained to look into the issues related to the caste and sub-castes. I have asked officials about every small point. I will not reveal right now as to what will be done for caste-wise headcounts. I will put up these things when the all-party meeting is convened.”

The CM further said that the date of the proposed all-party meeting would be finalized only after he gets consent of all political parties. “We will talk in detail over all related issues at the all party meeting. I do not think there is any possibility of disagreement over the caste census among the political parties,” Nitish said.

Earlier on August 23, an 11-member delegation from Bihar led by CM Nitish Kumar called on PM Narendra Modi and demanded caste-wise enumeration of population across the country during census-2021. Leaders of all 10 leading political parties which have members in Bihar assembly, were part of the delegation.

The long-pending demand for holding caste-wise census was revived in July this year after the Union government informed the Lok Sabha that it would not enumerate population caste-wise, except those from the SCs and STs.

Replying to a written query in the Lok Sabha on July 20 this year, Union minister of state for home Nityanand Rai (who also hails from Bihar) said that the government of India has decided as a matter of policy not to enumerate caste-wise population other than SCs and STs in census.

Earlier, Bihar assembly had unanimously passed a resolution on February 18, 2019 and again on February 27, 2020, demanding caste-wise enumeration of population. Both the resolutions were sent to the Union ministry of home affairs, and the Union government was requested to hold caste-wise enumeration of population during the census-2021.

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