Yadav, Muslim numbers inflated in Bihar caste survey, says Amit Shah | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Yadav, Muslim numbers inflated in Bihar caste survey, says Amit Shah

Nov 06, 2023 01:29 AM IST

Addressing a rally in Muzaffarpur, Bihar, Shah said that decision to hold caste survey in the state was taken when the JD(U) was a part of the NDA.

Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday termed the Bihar caste survey an “illusion” as he accused the chief minister Nitish Kumar-led state government of inflating the Muslim and Yadav population in the enumeration exercise for “appeasement politics”.

Bihar caste survey is an “illusion,” says Union home minister Amit Shah. (ANI)
Bihar caste survey is an “illusion,” says Union home minister Amit Shah. (ANI)

Addressing a rally in the Muzaffarpur district of Bihar, Shah said that the decision to hold the caste survey in the state was taken when the Janata Dal (United) was a part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) but it was conducted this year to fulfil the “ulterior motives” of the current state government.

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“The decision to conduct the caste survey in Bihar was taken when the JD(U) was part of the NDA. But the way the survey was conducted reveals the ulterior design of the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) government. The population of Muslims and Yadavas were deliberately inflated during the exercise. The state government is indulging in politics of appeasement and is not interested in the welfare of people belonging to other backward communities,” he said.

On October 2, the Bihar government released the results of the landmark caste survey, which said that the backward communities comprise nearly two-thirds of the state’s population. Among the backwards, Yadavs were found to be the biggest caste group, forming 14.26%; and theMuslims 17.7% of the population, according to the survey.

“This survey is an illusion. We had supported it. But we had no idea that under the pressure of Lalu[Prasad], Yadav and Muslim population will be increased and the backward and extremely backward classes will be wronged,” Shah said.

Read Here: In Chhattisgarh, Congress vows caste survey, higher price for paddy in its manifesto

The exercise has the potential to upend heartland politics and propel caste into the core of the electoral discourse in the 2024 polls. The Congress has sought to make the caste census a core poll plank and the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) of 28 opposition parties has included it in its key agenda. The Congress has also promised the survey in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana if it wins the upcoming state polls.

Bihar’s ruling coalition partners rejected Shah’s allegation and urged him to conduct a nationwide caste census to prove that the results of the state’s survey were incorrect.

“If (the survey) is wrong then conduct a caste census across the country, who has stopped you? Why aren’t you doing that?,” Bihar deputy chief minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav said. JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan ‘Lallan’ Singh said that the BJP was against the caste survey from the start.

“If the findings of our caste survey are wrong, why didn’t you (Shah) announce conducting a caste survey in India to prove us wrong,” he said.

Congress leader and MLC Prem Chand Mishra said Shah was indulging in “petty politics” in the name of caste survey. “You had to do the census, but you did not. You are now criticising the caste survey when the state government has done it out of its resources. If you have any proof of any wrongdoing in the caste survey, then please make it public, otherwise do not indulge in petty politics,” he said.

On Friday, Shah said that the BJP was not against a caste census but contesting polls using this plank is not correct as he decried attempts by Opposition parties to “politicise the issue”.

Nawal Kishore Chaudhary , former professor at Patna University, said the enumeration exercise has given the Opposition an opportunity to challenge the BJP’s electoral dominance in 2024. “The Opposition has realised that the only way to defeat the NDA is by fragmenting their consolidated Hindu vote bank through caste politics. Indian politics is going through a transition,” he said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Ruchir writes on health, aviation, power and myriad other issues. An ex-TOI, he has worked both on Desk and in reporting. He over 25 years of broadcast and print journalism experience in Assam, Jharkhand & Bihar.

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