Bihar Chief Minister and de facto leader of the Janata Dal (United) Nitish Kumar on Thursday, 5 August, said that he has requested to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue of a census based on caste lines, but has received no response in the matter yet, NDTV reported.
Speaking to reporters, Kumar said, "My letter to the PM has been dispatched. Once he gives an appointment we will take the matter forward."
The central government had recently brought up caste-based census in the Parliament, saying that it was thinking of conducting the exercise for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. In Bihar, where Other Backward Castes (OBCs) dominate state politics, the Centre's stand caused an uproar.
The JD(U) leader has also stressed that this appeal to the BJP government will not impact their nearly three-decade-long alliance.
Addressing reporters in New Delhi, Kumar said, “There will be no impact (on the coalition). The bicameral legislature in Bihar has passed resolutions twice in support of a caste-based census. All parties had voted in favour on both occasions," PTI reported.
The leader also asserted that in the event of Centre disagreeing with the request, the JD(U) government will "keep the option open" of conducting a state-specific caste-based census, Deccan Herald reported.
Leaders of the Tejashwi Yadav-led Grand Alliance had met the CM over the issue recently.
The last caste-based census in the country was held in 1931, with every headcount conducted since Independence only counting Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The Bihar CM also recently became the first BJP ally to speak in favour of a probe into the Pegasus reports, saying that "Nobody should have a problem with this. If some people feel their privacy has been violated, what better thing than to have the apex court looking into the matter."
(With inputs from PTI, Deccan Herald, and NDTV)