Express News Service

PATNA: RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav’s call to boycott the National Census 2021 if the central governmen continues to refuse conducting the caste-based census, has now pushed the opposition’s demand for caste-based census towards becoming  a national political issue.

Bihar’s principal opposition – RJD along with NDA’s three allies in Bihar – JDU, VIP and the HAM  is moving in a very calculated political way ahead the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls in order to make the caste-based census a national issue against the BJP.

अगर 2021 जनगणना में जातियों की गणना नहीं होगी तो बिहार के अलावा देश के सभी पिछड़े-अतिपिछड़ों के साथ दलित और अल्पसंख्यक भी गणना का बहिष्कार कर सकते है।जनगणना के जिन आँकड़ों से देश की बहुसंख्यक आबादी का भला नहीं होता हो तो फिर जानवरों की गणना वाले आँकड़ों का क्या हम अचार डालेंगे?
— Lalu Prasad Yadav (@laluprasadrjd) August 11, 2021
Taking to official Twitter handle, Lalu Prasad Yadav has tweeted in Hindi: “If castes are not counted in the 2021 Census, apart from Bihar, minorities along with all the backward, EBC communities of the country can boycott the Census.”

Lalu’s call to boycott the census, made to the people of SC (16 per cent), OBCs (nearly 50 per cent), the minority (17 per cent) and EBCs, has sent the BJP think-tank in Bihar into a deep thought over chalking out the ways to downplay Lalu’s call.

Lalu Prasad Yadav, who is still the most-heard leader in opposition in the public, continued questioning the utility of census if it does not benefit the people in majority in population. “If the data of Census does not benefit the majority of people of population, then what will we do with the Census of animal count,” Lalu tweeted.

In Bihar, demand for caste-based census has widened the rift between ruling JDU and the BJP to such an extent that hardly a day passes off without any leader either from JDU and the BJP making statement in support of and against the issue.

“The support of opposition, led by RJD, has given a major twist to this demand and Lalu Prasad Yadav, who has recently met many leaders of opposition like Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sharad Yadav and Om Prakash Chutala, has made the caste census a potential issue against the BJP,” said many political observers including Dr RK Verma in Patna.

“If this issue is fanned across UP and other poll-bund states and BJP suffers in electoral politics, the same issue will be against the BJP in 2024 LS election to oust Narendra Modi,” they added.

Recently, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar had already made it clear that his party will not compromise in an alliance w.r.t this issue at all. “The demand for caste-based census has no political connection. It pertains to a social concern. If it is conducted even once in the country, it will benefit everyone,” Nitish Kumar had said recently.

A letter seeking an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also been sent to the PMO by Nitish Kumar to meet him with a delegation over the caste-based census. However, Kumar has got no reply from the PMO over the letter sent with the suggestion of opposition in Bihar.

Kumar had cited that the Bihar Assembly has passed two resolutions in support of caste-based census and communicated about it to the Centre in 2019 and 2020. Leader of opposition Tejashwi Yadav had also added a new political vigour saying that if trees, animals, vehicles and SC/ST people can be counted, why not the OBC people.

Many political experts believe that the BJP has fallen in a dilemma having refused to conduct the caste-based census and finding no way to silence the opposition and hence, making the issue as a major national issue.

In national political scenario, even BSP supremo Mayawati has also said that if the BJP takes any creative approach on the issue, her party will be in support of that

Meanwhile, some reliable sources from opposition side said that the entire opposition is being polarised to come together over the caste census, the new population policy and the Pegasus scandal against BJP ahead of UP polls.

“If we succeed in damaging the BJP over all these issues in Uttar Pradesh polls, on power can help Narendra Modi to continue in power after 2024 LS elections. We are getting polarised,” said a reliable opposition source.