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India

Lalu Prasad Hits Out At BJP-RSS ‘Apathy’ After Centre Refuses Caste Census Of Backward Classes

Prasad accused the RSS-BJP of committing a “big fraud” (bada chhal) with the OBCs and EBCs.

File photo of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav (Source: PTI)
File photo of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav (Source: PTI)

New Delhi: Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad on Friday (September 24) charged BJP-RSS combine with “apathy” towards OBCs and EBCs, a day after the Centre told the Supreme Court that it would not be able to enumerate the numerically powerful social group as part of the census.

Prasad, who has been in Delhi since his release from jail earlier this year, came out with the vitriolic attack on his official Twitter handle.

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“All types of birds, animals, trees and plants can be counted but not humans belonging to the other backward classes and the extremely backward classes. Wow! Why does the BJP-RSS have so much of antipathy for the backwards? Caste census would have benefited all. It would have given an exact idea of population of respective segments,” the former Bihar chief minister tweeted in Hindi.

On Thursday, the Centre had submitted before the apex court that it had taken a “conscious policy decision” against a headcount of OBCs and EBCs as part of the census since undertaking such an exercise would have been “administratively cumbersome”.

The submission was in line with the stand taken by the Union government during the monsoon session of Parliament when it had stated that only SCs and STs will be enumerated during the census.

This had raised the hackles of the political class in Bihar, where OBCs have been a dominant force since the Mandal churn of the 1990s. Prasad, who has been arguably one of the biggest beneficiaries of the backward uprising in the state, also accused the RSS-BJP of committing a “big fraud” (bada chhal) with the OBCs and EBCs.

“If just another column in the census form, for the benefit of about 60 per cent of the country’s population, cannot be added, then fie upon such a government. And all those belonging to these classes who have become MPs and ministers should be socially boycotted,” fumed the septuagenarian, whose party had drawn a blank in the last general election.

Notably, the issue of caste census has become a point of agreement for Prasad and his arch rival Nitish Kumar, the current chief minister who recently met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press the demand.

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Prasad’s son and heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav, who is leader of the opposition in the assembly, was also a part of the delegation.

Realising the implications of the Union government’s stand, in view of the BJP being an alliance partner of Kumar in the state as well as the Centre, the RJD sought to fish in troubled waters.

“The Centre’s submission before the Supreme Court makes it clear that the BJP is not with Nitish Kumar on the issue. But we are with him. Now it is for him to make the next move,” RJD MLA and chief spokesman Bhai Virendra said here, tongue in cheek.