Oppn bid to divide nation: PM Modi on Bihar caste survey data


Hours after the Bihar government disclosed information about its contentious statewide caste-based census on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sharply flayed the Opposition for trying to divide the country in the name of caste. He blasted the Opposition in election-bound Madhya Pradesh for failing to achieve development while in power and for “playing with the feelings of the poor” despite not mentioning the survey or any particular party.
“Back then, they manipulated the emotions of the underprivileged, and they continue to do so today. They separated the nation in the past on the basis of caste, and they are doing it again today. They have a history of corruption. The Prime Minister also called any attempt at “division on caste lines” a “sin”.
The PM’s comments were seen by many as a two-for-one swipe at the Bihar’s ruling Janata Dal (United), an ex-BJP ally, and the Congress, its primary opposition in Madhya Pradesh, and which has vowed to conduct a similar caste-based survey if it returns to power after elections later this year.
Responding to the Bihar government report today, Rahul Gandhi said on X, “… the Congress reiterates its demand that the Union government conduct a national caste census at the earliest.”
“The (Congress-led) UPA government had, in fact, completed this census, but its results were not published by the Modi government. Such a census is essential for providing a firmer foundation for social empowerment programmes and for deepening social justice,” Gandhi’s party said today.
Pressure on the BJP to conduct a national caste census will increase after today, following the Bihar government report that said around 63% of the state’s population hail from backward classes, and over 20% are from Scheduled Castes or Tribes. The “general population” —which includes so-called upper classes that dominated Bihar politics till the Mandal report—is about 15.5%.
On the other hand, ex-Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, once Nitish Kumar’s right-hand man, said it was the BJP-JDU Bihar government—before Nitish Kumar quit the alliance—that resolved to hold a caste survey. Nitish Kumar, his deputy Tejashwi Yadav and RJD boss Lalu Prasad Yadav hailed the release of the caste-based survey report as a “watershed” moment. The Chief Minister also said he will call a meeting of all parties in the Assembly —including the BJP—to discuss the next step.