BJP has faced criticism from its ruling National Democratic Alliance allies for trying to stall the exercise

PATNA: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will attend an all-party meeting Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has convened on June 1 to discuss the modalities for a state-level caste census even as it has faced criticism from its ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) allies for trying to stall the exercise.

“Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has called an all-party meeting on June 1. Bharatiya Janata Party will also participate in it,” BJP state chief Sanjay Jaiswal tweeted on Wednesday.

On May 10, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav threatened to hold a foot march from Patna to Delhi in case the census is not conducted. He met Kumar over the issue on May 11 before the all-party meeting was convened.

Upendra Kushwaha, a leader of Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) or JD (U), has held the BJP responsible for the delay in the caste census. Former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, whose Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) is also part of NDA, has also blamed the BJP over the matter.

RJD and JD (U) have been vocal in their demand for the caste census for years. The previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre agreed to the demand for a caste census at a national level in 2010 but the data collected during the last decadal headcount was never processed.

RJD and JD (U) have lately backed the idea of conducting the exercise at the state level after demanding for years to make the data public. They have argued a count of castes will give a correct assessment of how they have benefitted from quotas.



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