The Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Jitendra Awhad has hailed the Bihar government's caste survey and demanded that a similar exercise be carried out in all states of the country, including Maharashtra, alleging that the rights of the OBCs were being snatched away.
The member of the Maharashtra legislative assembly representing the Mumbra-Kalwa constituency in Thane district made this demand in a video message posted on social media platform X on Monday night.
"Bihar has taken a brave step forward. It took a decision to conduct a caste-based census. And what truth came out of it (caste-based census)? It revealed that the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) comprise 61 per cent of the population. The Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs together form 85 per cent of its population," he said.
"And the truth that came out in Bihar is the truth of the entire India. And therefore we demand...we have always demanded that at least bring out the exact caste-wise population figures. Today, everything is being snatched away from the OBCs," he said.
Even if we consider that the OBCs comprise only 50 per cent of the population, why are they being deprived of reservation, Awhad asked.
What (Bahujan Samaj Party founder) Kanshi Ram said is true. He said, 'Jiski jitni sankhya bhari, uski utni hissedari' (the greater the number, the greater the share). Dr Babasaheb
Ambedkar had also said that OBCs are the most backward and hence they should get reservation, the NCP leader added.
He alleged that attempts were made to stop the truth of Bihar's caste survey from coming into the public domain.
"Our demand is that a caste-based census be carried out...What Bihar has done has to be implemented by all other states, including Maharashtra," the former state minister said.
"Bihar has shown the path, so people should wake up as your rights are being snatched away," he said.
In a written post attached with the video, Awhad said, if the total population of Backward Classes (including OBCs, SCs and STs) is 80 to 84 percent, then capping the reservation at 50 per cent is like doing injustice to them.
"The Maharashtra legislature has passed a resolution for a caste-based census, which was supported by the then leader of opposition and now Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. So everybody should come together and start a caste-based census in Maharashtra," he said.
If this government says that works for the poor and the common people, it should bring it into a reality, he said.
The Nitish Kumar government in Bihar on Monday released findings of its much-awaited caste survey months ahead of the 2024 Parliamentary elections. According to the data, the state’s total population stood at a little over 13.07 crore, out of which the Extremely Backward Classes (36 per cent) were the largest social segment followed by the Other Backward Classes at 27.13 per cent.
RJD president Lalu Prasad issued a statement, in which he said that the survey will set the tone for "a nationwide caste census which will be undertaken when we form the next government at the Centre".
The Congress also welcomed the Bihar government's move to release the findings of a caste census and called upon the Centre to immediately conduct a similar exercise at the national level to ensure social justice and provide a firm foundation for social empowerment programmes.