Bihar BJP president Samrat Choudhary on Tuesday said he saw “80 per cent supporters” of his party in the findings of the caste survey released by the Nitish Kumar government the day before.
Addressing a press conference at the state BJP headquarters here, Mr Chaudhary also alleged that the report was prepared to suit politics of “appeasement practiced by RJD president Lalu Prasad and endorsed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar”.
“The BJP welcomes the caste survey, which was ordered by the state cabinet when it had 16 ministers, including two deputy CMs, from our party,” said Mr Choudhary.
The BJP state president, who was a minister till Mr Kumar snapped ties with his party a year ago, said, “In the data that has come out, eighty per cent of the people who have been counted are supporters of the BJP.”
The allusion to the survey’s finding that more than 80 per cent of the total population of the state was Hindu, bore a striking similarity to the infamous “80 versus 20” rhetoric of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
However, the Bihar BJP leader also claimed, “People from many Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) like Dhanuks are complaining to us that their numbers have been shown less than estimates. We will seek to know the methodology (of the survey) from the government.”
“We suspect that Nitish Kumar has acted under pressure from Lalu Prasad whose politics of appeasement is well known. If Nitish and Lalu really care about the EBCs, let them give up their hold on power and give the reins to those from the extremely backward classes,” said Mr Choudhary.
Several RJD leaders pointed out that Yadavs, the caste to which Prasad belongs, are the largest caste group in the state, with a population of more than one crore.
Besides, Muslims, who have been firmly with Prasad since he got BJP patriarch Lal Krishna Advani arrested, halting the Ram Rath Yatra in its tracks, account for 17.70 per cent of the state’s total population, which is 13.07 crore.
They also say that as per the survey, the rise in Muslim population in terms of percentage, since the 2011 census, has been less than one per cent. This runs contrary to the BJP’s claims that districts along the porous borders with Nepal and Bangladesh were undergoing a “demographic change” because of unchecked infiltration.
The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar on Monday released findings of its much-awaited caste survey months ahead of the 2024 Parliamentary elections, which revealed that OBCs and EBCs constitute a whopping 63 per cent of the state’s total population.
According to the data, EBCs (36 per cent) were the largest social segment followed by the Other Backward Classes at 27.13 per cent.
The survey also stated that Yadavs, the OBC group to which Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav belongs, were the largest in terms of the population, accounting for 14.27 per cent of the total.
Dalits, also known as the Scheduled Castes, accounted for 19.65 per cent of the total population in the state, which is also home to nearly 22 lakh (1.68 per cent) people belonging to the Scheduled Tribes.
Those belonging to the “unreserved” category, which denotes the proverbial “upper castes” who dominated politics till the Mandal wave of the 1990s comprise 15.52 per cent of the total population.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)