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BJP ally Nitish Kumar weighs in on caste-based census on Centre's hesitancy

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BJP ally Nitish Kumar weighs in on caste-based census on Centres hesitancy
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Reiterating his demand for a countrywide caste census, CM Nitish Kumar on Sunday said it is the need of the hour and the Centre should reconsider its decision against it.

He also announced that he would soon discuss the issue with all political parties in the state in light of the Centre's affidavit to the Supreme Court reasoning that conducting a caste enumeration exercise for backward classes was not feasible.

Pointing out that unanimous resolutions backing a caste census have been passed in the Bihar Assembly and Legislative Council, Nitish told reporters in Delhi: "All of us have already jointly placed our demand. The issue has come up now in connection with the socio-economic caste census matter in the court. It has no connection with our demand. We would like to request that the issue be considered and reconsidered, and caste census be carried out."

Asked if the JD(U) would exit the NDA in the event of the Centre rejecting his request, Kumar said there is no point in discussing all that and said that the demand has been raised in many states, not just in Bihar.

Nitish said political parties in Bihar will now chart the future course of action on the matter over which he had led a 10-party delegation from the state, including JD(U)'s principal rival RJD, to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 23.

On September 23, the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had informed the apex court that the data of the 2011 socio-economic census be was "unusable" as it contains many technical flaws.

Referring to that submission, the Bihar Chief Minister stressed that ruling out a caste census citing errors in the 2011 exercise would be "wrong". He said that such a census was needed to get "a clear idea about the situation".

Flagging his disagreement with the Centre, Nitish said that during the census, a person might share the name of his sub-caste.

"Do we have any caste in the country that does not have sub-castes? So training will have to be imparted (to enumerators). Caste, sub-caste, everything will have to be mentioned."

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TAGS:Bihar cm Nitish Kumar 
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