Nitish Kumar snubs ally BJP, convenes all-party meet on caste census this week
Patna, May 23: In snub for ally BJP, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday hinted that the much-awaited all-party meeting on a state-specific census of castes could be held later this week.
"Many parties have agreed to the date. But we must have consent of all parties for holding the meeting on any particular date", Nitish Kumar told reporters.
The JD(U) leader, whose ally BJP has of late grown ambivalent over the issue, expressed confidence that all parties in the state will back the proposed move before clearance is given by the cabinet.
"There should be no problem since both houses of legislature in the state have twice passed resolutions favouring a caste census", Kumar pointed out.
The BJP's recent indifference has followed the Narendra Modi government's refusal to conduct a caste census nationally.
This has evoked allegations from opposition parties like the RJD that the BJP, which derives its support base from, primarily, among the upper castes, did not care much for the OBCs for whom gains are expected from a headcount of all castes.
Of late there have been attempts by BJP leaders in Bihar, especially those from backward classes, that it was "never" opposed to a caste census even though the Union government might not have taken it up for "practical reasons".