Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar along with Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav and BJP Leader of opposition Vijay Kumar Sinha during all parties meeting, regarding caste-based census survey report in Patna on Tuesday (ANI)

After the caste census done by Nitish Kumar’s government in Bihar reveals a massive majority of backward castes, INDIA bloc parties demand a nationwide survey. BJP opposes it strongly. The battle lines for 2024 are being drawn sharply 

Our Bureau
New Delhi/Patna/Gwalior  

In the run-up to the 2024 elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Opposition bloc INDIA engaged in a war of words after the Bihar caste survey was released by the state government on Monday, revealing that Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) constitute more than 63 per cent of the population of Bihar.

According to the data, Scheduled Castes make up 19.65 per cent and the Scheduled Tribes 1.68 per cent of the population of the state. The data also said that the Hindus comprise 81.99 per cent of the population, Muslims 17.7 per cent, Christians 0.05 per cent, Sikhs 0.01 per cent, Buddhists 0.08 per cent and other religions 0.12 per cent. The data said that Yadavs, the OBC group to which Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav belongs, is the largest and accounts for 14.27 per cent of the state’s population.

Kushwaha and Kurmi communities form 4.27 per cent and 2.87 per cent of the population, the caste survey said. Bhumihars constitute 2.86 per cent of the population, Brahmins 3.66 per cent, Kurmis 2.87 per cent, and Musahars 3 per cent.

The numbers stand in contrast to the quantum of reservation, which is 27 per cent that the OBC population gets in government jobs and admissions to educational institutions.

With the parties of the INDIA bloc welcoming the report on caste in Bihar, the chorus for nationwide caste-based data has grown. JDU leader and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his ally and RJD patriarch Lalu Prasad Yadav termed the publication of the report “historic”, while the BJP and other prominent parties of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) criticised the Bihar government calling the report an “eye wash”.

Kumar said the publication of the report has coincided with Gandhi Jayanti and congratulated the survey team for its work. He said a meeting of the nine political parties in the Bihar Assembly, who had unanimously voted in support of the survey, will be called soon, and they will be informed about the its findings.

“The caste survey has also provided information about the economic condition of various castes. Steps will be taken for the development of all communities on the basis of this data,” he said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

RJD founder and former Chief Minister Lalu Yadav, too, welcomed the survey report and said the exercise was completed despite “BJP’s conspiracies and legal hurdles”.

“These figures will set a benchmark for the country in giving representation to deprived and oppressed sections and the poor as per their population and to make policies for their development,” he posted on X.

Lalu Yadav said that the central government should ensure that sections of the society get a share in development as per their numbers. “We will get a caste Census done when we form the government in 2024,” the RJD leader said.

Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav also congratulated and thanked the entire nation and the people of Bihar. Yadav also thanked former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister late Mulayam Singh Yadav and late Sharad Yadav for supporting the idea of a census.

Sharing insights into the survey findings, he said, “64 per cent are backward and 20 per cent are SC, STs. This data shows that roughly 85 per cent are from the marginalised section of society. This has come before everyone in the country. Our fight has been for social justice and economic justice, to bring to the mainstream those who are weak.”

Pushing for a nationwide caste-based census or similar census in other states, he said, “If it has happened in Bihar, it should happen in the entire nation as well, even those ruled by the BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.”

Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP representing Wayanad Rahul Gandhi cited Bihar’s demographics to argue for proportional representation.

“The Caste Census of Bihar has revealed that the OBCs, SCs and ST constitute 84% of its population. Out of 90 secretaries of the Central Government, only 3 are OBC, who handle only 5pc of India’s budget. Therefore, it is important to know the caste statistics of India. The greater the population, the greater the rights – this is our pledge,” he posted on X.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MP Sanjay Singh said that the Caste-census should be held in the entire country. Commenting on the same, BJP leader and Minister of Rural Development of India Giriraj Singh said that the Caste Census is an eyewash and stated that it is nothing more than spreading ‘Bhram’ among the poor and public of Bihar.

PM Narendra Modi receives a warm welcome as he arrives in Gwalior on Thursday (ANI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized the Congress party on Monday, accusing them of indulging in dividing society on the basis of caste lines when they were in power at the Centre and alleged that the grand old party continue to do so. “They (Congress) used to divide society on the basis of caste, even today they are doing the same thing,” PM Modi said speaking at a public meeting in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior.

The report of the caste-based survey conducted in Bihar was released on Monday by the Nitish Kumar-led Mahagathbandhan government. The Congress is an ally of the government in Bihar.

Meanwhile,  after Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi created a flutter with his post cautioning people against the idea of “Jitni abadi utna haq” (rights on the basis of population), party leader KC Venugopal on Tuesday said that his party has very clear stand over the matter and is in favour of it.

“Our party’s stand is very clear. We are for a caste census. Congress President and Rahul Gandhi have given statements on it,” KC Venugopal said while talking to ANI.

Amid the row over issue, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi on Tuesday said that the idea of ‘the greater the population, the greater the rights’ will eventually push the country towards ‘majoritarianism’.

In an earlier post on social media platform X, which has since been deleted, Singhvi said the idea of ‘the greater the population, the greater the rights’ will eventually push the country towards ‘majoritarianism’. Later, clarifying his post, Singhvi claimed that he did not depart from his party’s position on population-based rights.

After the Bihar state government released the data from its caste-based survey, Rahul Gandhi once again gave the call for population-based rights. Rahul Gandhi endorsed the slogan of ‘Jitni abadi utna Haq’ saying that that this was a pledge of the Congress.

“The caste census of Bihar has revealed that OBC SC ST are 84% there. Out of 90 secretaries of the Central Government, only 3 are OBC, who handle only 5% of India’s budget! Therefore, it is important to know the caste statistics of India. ‘Jitni Abadi Utna Haq’ – this is our pledge,” Rahul posted on ‘X’ on Monday.

This seems to be the slogan Rahul Gandhi will probably adopt for the 2024 elections.

A war of posters

Slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the graphic poster against Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, the party has said the BJP appears “frustrated” with Opposition’s INDIA bloc. Congress termed it ‘shameful’ after the BJP shared a graphic poster that prominently featured MP Rahul Gandhi with a bearded visage and seven heads, reminiscent of the mythical character Ravana.

“No words are enough to condemn the ‘shameful’ graphic on the BJP handle comparing Rahul Gandhi ji to Ravana. Their nefarious intentions are clear, they want to murder him. He lost his grandmother and father to assassinations. They withdrew his SPG protection to score petty political points,” Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said in a post on X.

The BJP had on Thursday shared the graphic poster on their official handle of the social media platform ‘X, and captioned it, “India is in Danger. He is Evil. Anti-Dharma. Anti-Ram. His aim is to destroy Bharat.”

The poster also linked the Congress leader to George Soros, a billionaire investor who has been accused of being involved in anti-India activities. The graphic has ignited a debate on social media, with supporters and critics expressing various opinions about its symbolism and intent.

Now, AAP’s Sanjay Singh arrested

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday arrested AAP leader Sanjay Singh after a day-long questioning at his Delhi residence.

The Rouse Avenue Court on Thursday sent Aam Aadmi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh to remand till October 10 in connection with the now scrapped Delhi excise policy or liquor scam case.

The arrest of Sanjay Singh is the second high-profile arrest in the case after former Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia.

The federal agency on Wednesday morning raided the residence of AAP leader Sanjay Singh in connection with the now-cancelled liquor excise policy in the national capital. The development followed closely on the heels of the ED’s raid on the premises belonging to two of Sanjay Singh’s close aides in the same context.

The agency claims that Singh and his partners played a part in the Delhi government’s decision to give licenses to alcohol shops and merchants in 2020, causing losses to the state exchequer and violating anti-corruption laws.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top