Why is the Bihar government jittery on conducting caste census in the state? What is at stake for the Nitish Kumar led Bhartiya Janta Party government in the state forced into a peculiar withdrawal?
Classifying and categorising lower and backward castes was but his electoral gimmick to consolidate his base and constituency. Mahadalits and extremely backward classes voted en bloc for Nitish Babu in the last year’s state assembly elections. Despite anti-incumbency and the challenge thrown by Lok Janshakti Party’s Chirag Paswan, he was able to fish through troubled waters albeit with a fall in his tally.
Bhartiya Janta Party calling the shots in administrative and bureaucratic controls and decisions is hardly leaving any room for Nitish. Though Nitish Kumar may have survived for now but there seem to be tough times ahead.
Jitan Ram Manjhi and Mukesh Sahani may bargain with Laloo Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janta Dal in case Nitish Kumar pushes back on caste census which has been due for a while now. Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav has repeatedly pointed on why carrying this exercise is crucial and not consummating for the state keeping in view the larger objective of land reforms which has for all these years been neglected.
Bandyopadhyay Committee’s suggestions were misread and misinterpreted by his regime with an aim to further politicise, mobilize and organize these subalterns minus their upliftment and empowerment.
Prohibition of liquor, distribution of freebies among women etc won’t serve any intended purpose unless the unequitable distribution or access to resources for this section of the population is addressed.
I believe time has come for an extensive and engaging deliberation on this vexed issue either by calling all party meeting or a joint session of assembly will do in settling the dust for once and all.
Building of consensus than broad basing of an agenda should be on the cards of the political parties in the state. Rashtriya Janta Dal might want to take the lead with Chirag Paswan cozying and drifting towards the former. Mind you, Pashupati Paras’s appointment as Union Minister was not a one-off happening.