Last Updated: January 11, 2023, 20:54 IST
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was on Wednesday aghast over a petition challenging the ambitious survey of castes, ordered by his government, filed before the Supreme Court.
He pointed out that what was being undertaken in Bihar was a “ganana” (headcount) and not a “janganana” (census), indirectly debunking the PIL’s contention that the state government was undertaking an exercise for which only the Centre was competent.
“It filled me with surprise when I learnt about the petition. Why should anybody have a problem with the survey? It is being carried out with the welfare of all sections of society in mind,” asserted the longest-serving CM of the state.
He was talking to journalists in the north Bihar district of Madhubani, which he had visited as part of his state “Samadhan Yatra”.
The petition, filed by a couple of advocates, is slated for hearing later this month.
The JD(U) leader pointed out “it is not that my party imposed its own will for the survey which followed two unanimous resolutions passed by the legislature and an all-party meeting. Moreover, caste-based reservations have been in place for long. My party even supported 10 per cent quotas for economically weaker sections among the upper castes”.
The PIL has expressed fears that the survey could intensify caste divides in society.
“I have said it before and say it again that we will share the report of our survey with the Centre so that other parts of the country may take a leaf out of our book,” added the chief minister.
“A similar survey was conducted by the Centre a decade ago but it was found to be not up to the mark. Later, a couple of other states also undertook similar exercises. I am sure we will be doing the best job,” he said.
Replying to a query, he said the survey will also take into account members of families living outside the state.
“We guess more than one crore people from Bihar are in other states. COVID lockdown brought into the spotlight the large number of migrants who returned by train loads. The survey will give an exact idea,” he said.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)