A day after the Patna high court temporarily suspended Bihar’s caste-based survey, ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Friday backed the exercise saying a bulk of the people want it. In a tweet in Hindi, Yadav questioned why the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was afraid of the exercise.
Yadav said those opposing the survey are against equality, humanity, and supporters of poverty, unemployment, and backwardness as well as social and economic discrimination. He added the people have understood the BJP’s maneuvering over it.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar has refrained from commenting on the stay. His deputy and RJD leader, Tejashwi Yadav, on Thursday said their government was keen on conducting the survey for the empowerment of the weaker sections. He added they would decide the future course of action after examining the high court order.
The court said the exercise in its present form virtually amounted to a census and impinged upon Parliament’s domain while temporarily suspending the survey.
The order dealt a blow to Bihar’s plans of counting the castes in the state for the first time since independence.
The BJP demanded the resignation of Nitish Kumar, who spearheaded the demand for the survey.
Case enumeration was discounted after 1931. Only scheduled castes and tribes have been counted since independence. Parties such as RJD hope enumeration of castes will help reverse religious polarisation.
Nitish Kumar has maintained the state was not conducting a caste census but only collecting information related to people’s economic status for specific steps to serve them better