Express News Service

PATNA: Days after an all-party team from Bihar led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press him to conduct caste census, an indication of the national BJP’s evolving thought process came from two of its state leaders, who said it was a dangerous exercise that could divide the society.

While neither the BJP’s central leadership nor Prime Minister Modi has spoken on the issue, the party’s Bihar unit vice president Dr Rajendra Prasad Gupta’s sharp reaction to the demand indicated NDA constituents were not on the same page. Tweeting from the official Twitter handle of the Bihar BJP, Gupta said the demand was devoid of logic and had the potential to affect social unity.

“It is unfortunate that those who claim to be the followers of Loknayak Jaya Prakash Narayan and Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya are demanding caste census,” he said in a veiled reference to both the RJD and JD(U), which are spin offs of the Janata Dal movement cobbled together on Narayan and Lohia’s ideologies.

Categorically dismissing any benefits would accrue from a caste headcount, Dr Gupta said the BJP was apprehensive of the ill-effects such an exercise. His views found resonance with another senior leader of BJP and Padmashri awardee Dr CP Thakur, who said: “We have a clear understanding that if there is a census it should be on the basis of Aamiri (affluence) and Garibi (poverty).”