Nitish and Tejashwi raise caste reservation issues
Patna, Jan 24; Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav on Thursday raised the reservation issue in a different way to mark the birth anniversary of veteran socialist leader and former chief minister Karpoori Thakur.
Nitish Kumar reiterated his demand for a caste-based census in 2021 and supported reservation in government jobs and educational institutions according to caste population.
"Caste-based census is necessary to know the real population of various castes, particularly OBCs and Dalits. Such a census would also help in providing proportionate reservation in government jobs and educational institutions," said Nitish Kumar at a function of his party JD-U in the presence of senior BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi.
Nitish Kumar said last such census was conducted in 1931.
On the other hand, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav warned that reservation for Dalits and OBCs was in danger of being eliminated.
He said the RSS-controlled BJP-led Central government is hellbent on diluting and, even ending, the quota system. "RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had during 2015 Bihar assembly polls suggested a review of reservation provisions on economic criteria. After that RJD chief Lalu Prasad had challenged him to keep his hands off reservation. Now RSS and BJP are busy with their own agenda," said Tejashwi in his address at an RJD function in the state capital.
Some leaders from JD-U and RJD repeated their demand for Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian award, for Karpoori Thakur.
Popularly known as 'Jan Nayak' (people's leader), Thakur was one of the socialist leaders close to Jayaprakash Narayan who spearheaded the movement for 'total revolution' as well as protests against the Emergency (1975-77).
Belonging to the extremely backward castes (EBC), he emerged as an important icon for consolidating EBC votes in caste-ridden Bihar. The EBCs are a cluster of over 100 castes accounting for around 32 per cent of the electorate.
Regarded as an honest and hard working leader, Karpoori Thakur was Bihar's chief minister from December 1970 to June 1971 and from December 1977 to April 1979.