Bihar leaders meet PM to press caste-based census demand

Stepping up their campaign for a caste-based census, a delegation of 10 parties from Bihar headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday in support of the demand.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav interacting with the media after meeting PM Narendra Modi
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav interacting with the media after meeting PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi

Nitish Kumar said after the meeting that all parties from Bihar spoke in one voice on the need for a caste-based census, and asserted that statistics about different castes will help in formulating development schemes effectively as many of them have not benefitted so far in line with their actual population. RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who was part of the delegation, said such a census was in national interest and will be a historic measure and help the poor and the most deprived sections of the society. If animals and trees can be counted, so can people, he said. Kumar was joined by representatives of all major parties, including the BJP and Congress, as they submitted their demand to Modi. 
Asked about the Prime Minister’s response, he said Modi gave all of them a patient hearing and “did not deny what we said (need for caste census)”. 
BJP’s Janak Ram, who was part of the delegation, said Modi heard out everyone’s view like the “guardian of a family”. Everyone was “satisfied” and the Prime Minister’s decision will be acceptable to all, he added. 
With census being the Union’s prerogative, it is now up to the Centre to take a call on the demand made by many parties, mostly those who draw their core support from the Other Backward Classes (OBCs). 
Speaking to media, both Kumar and Yadav referred to the statement of a Union minister, a reference to Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai’s reply in Rajya Sabha that there was no proposal for releasing caste-based population data, with the chief minister saying it triggered “unrest” among people. Asked if JD(U), which is part of the BJP-led NDA, and RJD are coming closer, Yadav said opposition in Bihar has always supported government over pro-people measures and those in national interest.

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