Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar reiterated his demand for the decennial census hours after Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge demanded in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the census be conducted immediately.
Kumar told reporters, “The 2011 caste census numbers were not made public, and it was later determined that the census was not conducted correctly. After that, we began to insist that it be done correctly.”
#WATCH | We have been demanding to conduct caste-based census. All parties in Bihar had the same view when we decided to have a caste-based census and it is currently being conducted in the state. I have also taken part in this. It is highly beneficial: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar pic.twitter.com/VQQbY3y6vQ
— ANI (@ANI) April 17, 2023
“All parties in Bihar were in agreement when we decided to conduct a caste-based census in the state, which is currently underway,” he added. “I have participated in this as well. It is extremely advantageous,” said Kumar.
Kharge demanded earlier today that the decennial census be conducted promptly alongside a comprehensive socio-economic caste census.
In his letter, Kharge stated, “In the absence of an updated Caste Census, I fear a reliable database so essential for meaningful social justice and empowerment programmes, particularly for OBCs, is incomplete.”
Kharge added that, in addition to the Congress, MPs from other parties have repeatedly requested the census in both chambers of the Parliament.
On Sunday at a public rally in Kolar, Karnataka, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi urged the BJP government to disclose caste-based data from the census conducted by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. He also vigorously advocated for the removal of the 50 percent reservation limit for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes.
“This census contains information on every caste in India. If you discuss OBCs, Modiji, then make this information public. Indicate the quantity of OBCs, Dalits, and tribals in the country. If everyone is to participate in the country’s progress and be treated as equals, we must know “kaun kitne hai” (how many there are). So, Modiji, disclose the caste census data and inform the country’s population of the number of OBCs, Dalits, and tribals. If you do not do it, the OBCs will be insulted. You spoke about OBCs, so show the country how many OBCs there are,” Gandhi said.
In February of this year, Akhilesh Yadav, the leader of the Samajwadi Party, and Mayawati, the leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party, also demanded a caste census. Speaking during the UP Assembly Budget session, Yadav said, “UP ki janta jatiya janganana chahti hai. The people of Uttar Pradesh desire a census of castes. If it is held, then only the people will receive their rights and honour, and Baba Bhim Rao Ambedkar’s aspirations will be realised.
Mayawati stated that her party was a staunch supporter of a national caste census and that the central government should initiate the process.