Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on Sunday assured that he will take an appointment with PM Narendra Modi to discuss the issue of a caste-based census. Kumar, who is the de facto leader of the JD(U), thus , declared that divergent stands taken by his party and the BJP, which led the Union government, on the issue will not affect the coalition.
“There will be no impact (on the coalition). The bicameral legislature in Bihar has sanctioned resolutions twice in support of a caste-based census. All political parties had voted in favour on both occasions,” Kumar told reporters when he returned from New Delhi. Leaders of the five-party opposition Grand Alliance, led by RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, had met the CM over the matter recently.
The chief minister said, “Tomorrow I will take time off to compose the prime minister and make an appointment. A list of those who might attend me will also be included.” Notably, the Centre had recently briefed Parliament that it was thinking of holding a census only for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, provoking ardent demand in Bihar that the same must enclose OBCs who dominate the state’s politics. The chief minister also sought to make light of a remark made by senior JD(U) leader Upendra Kushwaha earlier in the day that Nitish Kumar is a Prime Minister material.
I have no interest in casual remarks,” said Kumar, though he also denied opinions that Kushwaha, who is the chairman of the party’s parliamentary board, was upset over Lok Sabha MP Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan becoming the national president. Lalan was nominated to the key post at the JD(U) national executive meeting chaired in New Delhi on Saturday. He followed RCP Singh who resigned considering his entrance into the Union cabinet.
There is no anxiety among party leaders on the issue. Yesterday, all senior leaders, counting Kushwaha, gave lectures welcoming the notion. Lalan is one of our senior-most leaders,” Kumar stated. Notably, Lalan became the primary upper caste leader to hold the superiority in the party that emerged from the Mandal agitation.
Kushwaha, elder but rebellious associate of Kumar, joined the JD(U) a few months ago and merged his Rashtriya Lok Samata Party. He was elevated to the main party post in a venture that appeared to be aimed at the Bihar chief minister’s endeavor to consolidate his Kurmi-Kushwaha base in the wake of poor performance of the JD(U) in the assembly elections last year.