Bihar caste survey: All-party meet today, SC to take up matter on Oct 6 | 10 points

Oct 03, 2023 11:42 AM IST

Bihar CM calls all-party meeting to discuss caste-based survey; opposition INDIA bloc sees chance to attack BJP's coalition.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has called an all-party meeting today to discuss the findings of a caste-based survey that has offered an opportunity to the opposition parties to attack and fracture the BJP’s umbrella social coalition in north and central India. The Bharatiya Janata Party, however, maintained that the outcome would not impact its social engineering model of bringing different castes under the wider Hindu vote bank.

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar speaks with the media regarding the caste-based census report, Gandhi Sangrahalya in Patna Bihar, India. (Photo by Santosh Kumar / Hindustan Times)
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar speaks with the media regarding the caste-based census report, Gandhi Sangrahalya in Patna Bihar, India. (Photo by Santosh Kumar / Hindustan Times)

Here are the top updates from Bihar caste-based survey data:

  1. The survey revealed that Backwards Classes and Extremely Backward Classes constitute a whopping 63 per cent of the state’s total population.
  2. Bihar's total population stood at a little over 13.07 crore, of which the EBCs (36 per cent) were the largest social segment followed by the Backward Classes at 27.13 per cent.
  3. The Scheduled Castes accounted for 19.65 per cent of the total population in the state, while 1.68 per cent belonged to the Scheduled Tribes.
  4. Those belonging to the “unreserved” category who dominated politics till the Mandal wave of the 1990s comprise 15.52 per cent of the total population.
  5. Nitish Kumar ducked queries about whether the survey would prove to be "Mandal part 2", triggering demands for revised quotas for different castes in proportion to their respective population. He said the findings of the survey will be made at 3.30 pm Tuesday before representatives of all nine parties which have a presence in the state legislature, and which had given the consent for the survey.
  6. Soon after the data released by Development Commissioner Vivek Singh, RJD president Lalu Prasad also issued a statement, declaring the survey will set the tone for “a nationwide caste census which will be undertaken when we form the next government at the Centre”.
  7. Both Prasad and Kumar have played an instrumental role in the formation of the INDIA coalition, which affirmed its commitment to holding a caste census at a meeting it held in Bengaluru recently.
  8. The Congress too welcomed the Bihar government's move to release the findings and called upon the Centre to immediately conduct a similar exercise at the national level to ensure social justice.
  9. The Supreme Court, meanwhile, said it will take up the matter on October 6 after the petitioner's lawyer mentioned before the apex court that the Bihar government has published caste survey data. The court had earlier refused to stay the uploading of data collected in the caste-based survey.
  10. A bunch of petitions in the top court have challenged the August 1 judgment of the Patna high court that allowed the government to carry out the exercise that the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has pitched as essential and imperative to further the cause of social justice. “We are not going to stay anything unless there is a prima facie case to show some violation... some legal issues that are debatable. The exercise has already been completed and the judgment of the high court has been in their favour. We will not stay anything without there being a prima facie case now,” a bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti had remarked.

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