‘Support unconditional to NDA’ but JD(U) has wishlist – caste census, special category status for Bihar


New Delhi: The Janata Dal (United) has said it would pursue the cause of a nationwide caste census and highlighted its demand for special category status for Bihar, even as it emphasised that its support for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was “unconditional”.

JD(U) spokesperson K.C. Tyagi said Thursday that no party in the country had so far said no to a caste-based census. “Bihar has shown the path,” Tyagi said. Last October, the Bihar government published the results of a caste survey it had conducted, which revealed that other backward and extremely backward classes constituted 63 percent of the state’s population of 13 crore.  

“The prime minister, too, did not oppose it in an all-party delegation. A caste-based census is the call of the hour. We will pursue it,” said Tyagi, whose party has emerged as a significant contributor to the NDA’s seat tally. 

Unlike the last two terms when the BJP got a simple majority on its own, it has fallen short in these elections and is mainly reliant on two regional partners to buttress its position in power. These are the JD(U) in Bihar, which won 12 seats, and the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh, which netted 16.

Tyagi also said Thursday that Bihar should be given special category status. “This is not a pre-condition, we have given unconditional support (to the BJP). But, Bihar should be given special status. After the Partition, Bihar has suffered… There is unemployment. Till it gets special status, this inequality will remain,” he added.

Special category status means that a state gets more financial assistance from the Centre — for spending on welfare schemes — over and above its allotted share, according to the Finance Commission’s recommendations. This status gives the states increased central assistance, grants, preferential allocations, and sometimes tax incentives.

Tyagi also raised a third demand, saying that a section of voters was upset with the Agnipath scheme for recruitment to the armed forces. “Our party wants these shortcomings, which have been questioned by the public, to be discussed in detail and removed,” he said. 

On the prospect of a uniform civil code being introduced in the NDA’s third term, Tyagi said his party was not against it but a solution must be found by talking to all stakeholders.

Also read: With NDA set to take oath for 3rd time, all eyes on big bureaucratic appointments of Modi 3.0


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