Patna, July 7: The Centre's decision to withhold caste-based census data has created a political row in poll-bound Bihar with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD supremo Lalu Yadav demanding its immediate publication.
Even Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), Secular, leader and former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who recently joined the NDA, has also called for release of socio-economic caste census data.
Last week Union ministers - Arun Jaitley and Rao Birender Singh had released socio-economic caste census, but refrained from making public the number of different castes, minorities and weaker sections.
Apparently sniffing conspiracy by the Centre in withholding data about population of different castes and minorities, the RJD supremo has threatened to take out a march to the Raj Bhawan in the state capital on July 13 next.
"Everybody has a right to know population of his or her caste. People should also know the number of population of a particular caste. We keep hearing many claims about caste-related numbers by many persons. The census figures will show the real numbers," Prasad said.
Echoing identical views, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar too had said that the data of individual castes was carried out under the composite socio-economic caste census on the demand of the people and that should be made public.
"It's beyond my comprehension as to why the Centre is not releasing caste-based census," he had said yesterday.
Kumar had said that the last caste-based census was carried out in 1931 and since then concerted demands had been made from various quarters for carrying out census of individual castes and once it had been done it must be made public so that schemes could be made for socio-economic progress of the weaker sections. .