Even as RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Monday led a march to Raj Bhavan to press for his demand to make the caste census public, his foe-turned-friend Bihar CM Nitish Kumar accused the NDA government at the Centre of having “double standards” on the issue.
According to Nitish, BJP may flaunt Narendra Modi as an “OBC PM” but would not reveal the report of caste census because the government is “non-performing”. He also played down his decision to attend the Iftar party hosted by Congress president Sonia Gandhi than the one hosted by Lalu simultaneously in Patna on Monday. “No political meaning should be taken out of it,” said the CM, adding he might meet his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal as desired by him. Nitish is likely to attend a meeting of NITI Aayog on July 15.
The RJD chief, who formally launched his poll campaign by marching from Gandhi Maidan to Raj Bhavan on Monday, said: “We will intensify our battle for getting the details of caste census. It will be a bigger movement than Mandal. If the caste census is not being revealed, why was it done in the first place? I wonder how the government is making its policies and programmes for the backward and the poor.”
“The BJP stands exposed on its claims of working for the poor,” he said. “Its national president got his facts wrong on first OBC Prime Minister. The NDA government is full of people with a feudal mindset,” he said. The RJD, which recently suffered a setback by winning only three out of 10 Legislative Council seats, has been focussing more on Mandal and social justice, leaving Nitish Kumar to talk of development plank. Sources said RJD has been getting wary of BJP making a dent into its OBC and EBC votebase since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Nitish Kumar said JD(U) has extended full support to RJD on its movement though his party will have separate programmes and policies since it is an independent party. “Caste census has to be made public. The NDA government is wary that if the census report comes out, the truth of it not been able to meet the expectations of the poor will come out,” he said.