When JDU voted with the BJP in Parliament on the Citizenship Amendment Bill and when Nitish had differences with party leaders Pawan Verma and Prashant Kishore on the same issue, questions were raised about whether Nitish Kumar's ideals of alignment with BJP have changed or not.
Questions also arose on whether Nitish is still heading his own politics or whether he has left the pilot seat in Bihar. But recently, Nitish has done 3 such things which indicate that Bihar's leader is still the same and the BJP is forced to align with him.
CM Nitish passed the resolution against NRC in the budget session of Bihar Legislative Assembly on 25 February. On the same day, it also passed the proposal that NPR will be applicable only in the old form from 2010 in Bihar. That is, the categories in which information was sought in the then National Population Register should be sought in the same way.
After this came Nitish's masterstroke, on 27 February, Nitish passed a resolution in the Bihar Legislative Assembly that information on castes should also be collected in the census in 2021. The important thing to note is that these three resolutions passed unanimously.
The BJP, which is adamant on NPR in the rest of the country and is talking profusely on NRC, has been forced to support the proposal against NPR and NRC in Bihar.
No major BJP leader has said so far that NRC will not be implemented, but has said that there has been no discussion on it. BJP's intention is clear concerning the caste-based census. Their intention shows that the central government of BJP has not been able to release the figures of the ethnic census which were collected in 2011 during its nearly six-year rule.
BJP is implementing NPR in the country. But by forcing the BJP to come together on these three matters in the Bihar Assembly, Nitish has given a very clear indication. The biggest message is that Nitish occupies the pilot's seat in Bihar.
Allaying Concerns Over CAA-NRC
Nitish has tried to calm the voices on CAA-NRC from inside and outside the party. If anyone felt that Nitish was giving up his area for BJP then by passing these proposals, Nitish has tried to reclaim that. Amidst all this, Nitish has done all of this when Amit Shah has said that the BJP will contest the upcoming elections in Bihar under Nitish's leadership.
In such a situation, Nitish seems to have trapped BJP in Bihar. With these three proposals, Nitish has extended his reach to every kind of vote bank including Muslim, Backward Classes, Dalits and OBC.
In the politics of Bihar where governments fall apart with the support and opposition of castes, these proposals have great significance in the upcoming Assembly election.
Now how Nitish will benefit from this will be seen later but Nitish has definitely played his cards.
Caste-based census is an old demand. After 1931, there was no caste-based census in the country. For a long time it was avoided by saying that such a census would further divide the country on the basis of caste. It was argued that when the poison of casteism has not reduced in the country even after so many years of independence, it is better to collect a proper figure of how many people belong to which caste. This will help in making policies and schemes.
Even though the number of castes were counted separately in 2011, its figures were not revealed. Neither the UPA government was able to disclose this data nor did the NDA government release the figures of 2011 despite spending Rs 5,000 crore on it.