Tejashwi Yadav's "48-72 Hours" Deadline To Nitish Kumar Over Caste Census

Tejashwi Yadav said he will seek an audience with Nitish Kumar and the opposition will "decide its course of action" if Nitish Kumar refused to give an appointment or "sounded helpless" during talks.

Tejashwi Yadav's '48-72 Hours' Deadline To Nitish Kumar Over Caste Census

I wish to meet the Chief Minister In the next 48 to 72 hours, said Tejashwi Yadav. (FILE)

Patna:

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav on Tuesday accused Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of adopting “delaying tactics” on the promise of a state-specific survey of castes and gave him an ultimatum of 48 to 72 hours to set the process in motion.

The former deputy Chief Minister said he will seek an audience with the Chief Minister and the opposition will “decide its course of action” if Mr Kumar refused to give an appointment or “sounded helpless” during talks.

“I have sought an appointment from the Chief Minister whom I wish to meet in the next 48 to 72 hours. If he refuses to meet me or shows his helplessness in the matter, the opposition will decide future course of action accordingly. I have already stated that we seem to be left with no other option than a padayatra from Bihar to Delhi to press the demand for a caste census”, Mr Yadav told reporters in Patna.

The leader of the opposition in the state assembly pointed towards Mr Kumar's alliance with the BJP and wondered whether the state government was dithering because “like in Delhi, it is Nagpur which is setting the agenda in Bihar”, an allusion to the headquarters of the RSS of which the saffron party is the political offshoot.

Notably, the Narendra Modi government at the Centre has made its stand clear that it will not undertake a headcount of castes other than SCs and STs. This has led to dissatisfaction in Bihar where most political bigwigs, including Kumar and Yadav, belong to the OBCs.

Mr Kumar had last year led an all-party delegation, of which Mr Yadav was also a part, which met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press the demand for a census of all castes.

Upon the Centre's refusal he had indicated that he was ready to conduct a state-specific survey after convening an all-party meeting.

“This talk of an all-party meeting is just a delaying tactic, aimed at buying time. It is his government. He simply needs to convene a meeting of the Cabinet and issue orders for a caste survey. But he obviously lacks the resolve. Why else has he not been able to convince the Centre, where his JD(U) is a partner in power, to see reason?" Mr Yadav asked.

Referring to Union Home Minister Amit Shah's averment that the government was planning an “e-census”, the RJD leader said, “this would make a census of all castes all the more easier. They just need to add a column and we will have the data at no extra cost”.

A census of all castes was last conducted in 1921 and leaders from Bihar are of the view that a fresh estimate of the population was essential to formulate policies that squarely addressed the needs of social groups.

Mr Yadav also slammed the state government over the leak of BPSC Civil Services (preliminary) question paper which has led to the cancellation of the exam and demanded that age limit relaxation be considered for those candidates who have suffered on account of delays in the tests.

“Relaxing the age limit for candidates who have suffered on account of leaks or cancellations because of other reasons was one of the promises we made in our party's manifesto in the 2020 assembly polls. We will put pressure on the government to fulfil the same”, the RJD leader added.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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