Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Will Bihar’s ruling JD-U put a big political challenge to the BJP on the issue of caste-wise enumerations of OBCs in the national caste census in coming days?
This is being speculated these days in political corridors of NDA within and outside Bihar after the PM’s recent announcement on the withdrawal of farm laws. If sources are to be believed, the JDU has silently and finally decided not to fall in line with the BJP on the issue of caste census without altering its determined stand.
After a recent statement made by RJD chief Lalu Prasad that the country needs a nationwide agitation for the caste-based census, just like the farmers’ protest, JD-U is learnt to have finally decided to continue aggressively pursuing now the demand for the inclusion of OBCs in the Caste Census with a plan to make it a major national issue, if it is left unheeded by the government in centre.
Sources said that the JDU is politically optimistic that other parties in opposition will render their unconditional support on the issue.
Recently, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on being asked by the media announced that the leaders of all political parties, including the RJD, will soon sit together at an all-party meeting to decide the further course of action on the demand for the caste-based census in Bihar. He admitted that the option of conducting out a state-specific census exercise was open to the state.
“We will go with a collective decision of all parties on this issue”, he said almost making his stand clear on the issue.
Meanwhile, some reliable sources said that the JDU has decided in principle to go with the opposition on this, giving a major political challenge to BJP in national politics.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi might have sidelined the opposition-led protest against the farm laws by announcing to repeal the laws but it would remain to be seen as how he tackles the next political challenge emerging on the Caste Census”, said a senior JD-U leader, preferring anonymity here.
Earlier, Nitish Kumar had led an all-party delegation from Bihar that met PM Modi demanding the inclusion of OBCs for caste wise enumerations in the national caste census.
“If the BJP-led government fails to change its stand on this national issue taking a lesson from farm laws protests, the JDU and two other allies of Bihar’s NDA may go apart from the stand of BJP on the issue. And if such happens, it would certainly be a major jolt to the BJP ahead of polls in five states including UP”, said some leaders of NDA from Patna, admitting further that opposition has a plan to raise the Caste census as a major issue in the upcoming state elections.
In this year’s September, the BJP-led government in centre, had told the Supreme Court through an affidavit that the caste census of Backward Classes was not possible because of many technical and administrative causes.
Sources also said that just as all the opposition parties maintained unity against the farm laws, in the same way, all opposition parties, including JD-U and NDA’s other allies, except BJP, are trying to remain in unity in support of