Caste census not a political issue but a social issue : Nitish Kumar

staff Reporter

 Amid reports of disquiet in ruling alliance partners in Bihar over the caste-based Census, sources have indicated that the two major ruling constituents of the NDA -- BJP and JD(U) have reached a consensus for the exercise that has become a focal point in the state's politics. 

Sources told India TV that BJP has assured Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of support for the caste-based Census in Bihar. 

The development assumes significance as it comes in the backdrop of reports of differences in the alliance between the 'big brother' BJP and JD(U) and Nitish's growing bonhomie with Lalu's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

Kumar recently said that he will convene an all-party meet this week to discuss the state-specific census of castes. State Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary said that the meeting will take place on June 1. 

Even though the BJP has of late shown ambivalence over the issue, Nitish Kumar maintained that all parties in the state will back the proposed move before clearance is given by the cabinet. He said that "it is not a political issue but a social issue."

Last year, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav was part of a delegation headed by Nitish Kumar that met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi to press the demand for a caste census. Notably, the Bihar Assembly has twice passed resolutions unanimously in favour of a caste census.

The BJP's recent indifference followed the Centre'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.

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