Updated: August 30, 2021 7:09:53 am
After putting the BJP in a spot by seeking an inquiry in the Pegasus spyware issue and teaming up with rival RJD to demand a caste census, key ally JD(U) turned up the heat on its alliance partner Sunday by asking for an NDA coordination committee at the state and central levels to “discuss several issues we differ on”.
The party also passed a resolution at its national council meeting that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has “all the qualities” that a Prime Minister should have.
Speaking to reporters after the council meeting, JD(U) principal general secretary and national spokesperson K C Tyagi said: “Just as there had been a coordination committee of the NDA during the AB Vajpayee government, we would welcome a similar committee now to discuss several issues we differ on. It would help in smooth functioning of the alliance and discourage unwarranted comments from leaders of the NDA alliance.”
Later, speaking to The Indian Express, Tyagi said: “We have also passed a resolution at the party’s national council that Nitish Kumar might not be in the PM race but has all the qualities that a PM should have”.
Asked about the need for such a resolution, Tyagi said: “There have often been insinuations from some quarters (on Nitish Kumar’s prime ministerial chances), and we wanted to keep the record straight”.
The JD(U) leader also said the party would continue to demand a caste census. “We are waiting for a positive response from the PM,” he said.
Asked about the JD(U)’s demand for a coordination committee, BJP leader and Bihar Deputy CM Tarkishore Prasad was cautious in response. “We support it because it will help us coordinate on various issues,” he said.
On August 23, Nitish Kumar had led a 10-party delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the caste census issue. Earlier, the Chief Minister had demanded a probe into allegations of surveillance of phones using the Pegasus spyware.
The BJP is wary of taking any step regarding a caste census, especially with the UP elections around the corner. Several party leaders have privately said that the party cannot afford to antagonise the OBCs, who have become a crucial support base in recent years.
On July 20, in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai had said: “The Government of India has decided as a matter of policy not to enumerate caste-wise populations other than SCs and STs in the census.”
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