An all-party meeting on the statewide caste census will be held on June 1, said Bihar Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary.
Mr Chaudhary said that the BJP, which was earlier opposed to the idea, will also attend the much-awaited meeting.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had on Monday hinted that an all-party meeting to take everyone’s views on a caste-based census could be convened on May 27, if all parties agreed to the proposed date.
Mr Chaudhary made the announcement on Tuesday after the BJP gave its consent for holding the meeting on June 1.
The Chief Minister had said that his government would soon start work on a caste census and expressed confidence that all parties in the state would back the proposed move.
“We will call an all-party meeting to take everyone’s views on a caste-based census. Then the proposal will be presented before the state cabinet,” Mr Kumar had said.
The Chief Minister noted that the caste-based census would enable the government to work for the development of various sections of society.
Most of the parties in Bihar, including the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), have called for a caste-based census even as the BJP has of late grown ambivalent over the issue. Mr Kumar had also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year to press for a caste-based census, heading an all-party delegation of which RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, was also a part.
Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) (JDU) and the BJP are alliance partners in Bihar.
The centre has long stated that a caste-based census is a divisive exercise. But Bihar political parties argue that knowing the caste constitution of the population will lead to better policies to help the most neglected in society.
The central government had told the Supreme Court last year that a caste census of the Backward Classes is “administratively difficult and cumbersome”.