Caste-based Count Will Be Foolproof, Beneficial for All Sections of Society: Nitish

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday asserted that the caste-based count to be conducted by the state government will be foolproof and beneficial for all sections of the society. He was speaking to reporters after his public interaction programme ‘Janta ke darbaar mein mukhyamantri’ (chief minister in people’s court).

“I am saying this with full confidence that the caste-based count by the state government will be foolproof. Once completed, it will be a model for other states interested in conducting similar exercises. “We will do a proper headcount so that no one is missed. The exercise will be beneficial for all sections of society,” he said.

Observing that all political parties are united over the issue, Kumar said the exercise will enable the state government to work for the development of all sections of the society. “The state cabinet has cleared it and the department concerned will soon notify it,” he said.

Responding to allegations of missing revenue records of acres of ‘Bhoodan land’ in the state, Kumar dismissed the charges and said the department concerned is looking into the matter. He said the state government has already initiated a special land survey exercise and ‘Bhoodan land’ will be included in it.

“After the completion of the exercise, we will have records of all sorts of lands,” he said. There have been allegations that the state government does not have records of donated lands that were distributed among the landless people during the 1951 Bhoodan movement launched by Acharya Vinoba Bhave.

Bhave had walked across the country asking people to consider him as one of their sons and donate one-seventh of their land to him, which he later distributed among the landless people. Kumar refused to make any direct comment on former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s claim that he was feeling suffocated within the ruling NDA in the state.

“What can I say? I don’t think so,” Kumar said. While addressing party workers on Sunday, Manjhi, whose Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) has four MLAs in the 243-strong assembly, said that being in the NDA as a junior partner of the BJP and the JD(U) was causing him “ghutan” (suffocation), as he regretted having stepped down in 2015, less than a year after being sworn into the highest seat of power in the state.

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