The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar on Thursday came under fire from the opposition BJP, which also sought its resignation, over the Patna High Court’s stay on the caste survey.
However, Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav insisted that the court had given an ”interim order” and a headcount of castes will, in due course, be conducted in all states of the country”.
”We cannot comment much until having studied the order. As per the information we have, it is an interim, and not the final order. Upon a perusal of the order, the government will think of options like going in appeal”, said Yadav, who has been vocal in demanding a caste census, since his RJD was in the opposition.
Soon after the court ordered a stay on the survey, fixing July 7 as the next date of hearing in the matter, state BJP president Samrat Choudhary told reporters ”the entire government, headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, must resign as it failed to defend itself before the Patna High Court”.
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”The ruling Mahagathbandhan falsely accuses the BJP of being opposed to the survey. The survey was ordered when we were in power in the state. We had also voted in favour of a caste survey when resolutions were passed in the state legislature”, Choudhary pointed out.
However, Yadav maintained, ”had the BJP been truly in favour of the survey, the Centre would have agreed to undertake the same as part of the census. Or, at least, similar exercises would have been ordered in states ruled by it”.
The CPI(ML) Liberation, which supports the Mahagathbandhan government from outside, called the High Court order ”unfortunate”.
The party’s state secretary Kunal said in a statement ”the survey is much-needed since no caste census has been conducted after 1931 and a fresh estimate of the numbers of different social groups is required to make reservations and other schemes for weaker sections more effective”.
”We hope the government will present its arguments better, and remove shortcomings, when the High Court takes up the matter for further hearing”, added Kunal. Meanwhile, former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha, who quit the JD(U) a couple of months ago, floated a new outfit and is likely to join the NDA, alleged that the High Court order has ”exposed Nitish Kumar’s inability to carry forward the social justice movement”.