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Ahead Of His Bihar Rally, Congress Posts '4 Questions For PM Modi', Seeks His Stance On Caste-Census

12:21 PM Apr 04, 2024 IST | 8PM News Desk
ahead of his bihar rally  congress posts  4 questions for pm modi   seeks his stance on caste census
Ahead of his Bihar rally, Congress posts '4 questions for PM Modi', seeks his stance on caste-census

New Delhi [India] : The Congress on Thursday took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of his visit to Bihar for the Lok Sabha campaign, asking about his stand on caste census data released by the Nitish Kumar government that is now part of the BJP-led NDA.

Jairam Ramesh, the Congress General Secretary in Charge of Communications, took to X on Thursday and alleged that the State has been plagued by rampant unemployment and unprecedented migration.

"When Nitish Kumar's government, on the insistence of the Congress and RJD, released Bihar's Caste Census in October last year, PM Modi accused him of "dividing the country in the name of caste". Having since joined hands with him, what does the PM think of the caste census conducted by his old new ally?" the Congress leader said.

In October last year, the Bihar government released the results of its concluded survey of castes in the state, which revealed that Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs) constitute more than 63 per cent of the population of Bihar.

Nitish Kumar took the oath as Chief Minister of Bihar for the ninth time in Raj Bhawan, Patna, switching sides again, this time with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in January this year. It was for the second time in two years that Nitish Kumar had jumped the ship, his fifth crossover in a little over a decade.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will kickstart NDA's Lok Sabha election campaign in Bihar on Thursday. He will address a public rally in Chirag Paswan's stronghold, Jamui.
NDA partner LJP-Ram Vilas has fielded Chirag Paswan's brother-in-law, Arun Bharti, from the Jamui Lok Sabha seat.

"The Prime Minister is in Jamui, Bihar, today. It is unlikely to ever figure in his propaganda-laden speeches," Jairam Ramesh said, asking the PM if he can express what benefits farmers in Bihar have seen from the abolition of its Agricultural Produce Market Committees, and why he was trying to recreate this model nationally?

"Bihar was the first state to abolish the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act in 2006. APMCs ensure farmers get MSP for their produce. Removing them has spelled disaster for farmers in Bihar, 97 per cent of whom have small or marginal landholdings.

Despite the failure of this policy decision, the Modi government first attempted to scrap APMCs nationwide through the 3 black farm laws, and now continues to deny farmers guaranteed MSPs. Can the Prime Minister express what benefits farmers in Bihar have seen from the abolition of its APMCs, and why he was trying to recreate this model nationally?" the Congress MP added.

He further said that Bihar has the "dubious distinction" of having India's highest rates of unemployment and outmigration.

"A full 32 per cent of Bihar's youth are not in education, employment, or training. More than 50 per cent of Bihari households have a family member migrating out of the state for work. The Congress Party has committed to filling 30 lakh government vacancies under its Bharti Bharosa Guarantee, along with a right to apprenticeships. What is the BJP's vision to help rescue Bihar's youth from hopelessness and unemployment?" he asked.

Jairam Ramesh also alleged that the MGNREGA scheme "falters" whenever the BJP is in power in Bihar, a state that faces such high levels of youth unemployment and rural distress.

"...this crucial scheme falters whenever the BJP is in power in Bihar. The approved labour budget for 2023-24 was 225 million person days, 25 million person days less than the year before, and the average days of employment provided per household fell from 47.16 to 43.85. Across Bihar, only 0.4 per cent of the 5.35 million families who demanded work were able to avail of the 100 days of employment guaranteed by the scheme," the Congress leader claimed.

Bihar will see polling in seven phases. The first phase of polling will be held on April 19, the second phase on April 26, the third phase on May 7, the fourth phase on May 13, the fifth phase on May 20, the sixth phase on May 25, and the seventh phase on June 1.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the NDA, consisting of BJP, JDU (Janata Dal-United), and LJP (Lok Janshakti Party), secured victory by taking the lead on 39 out of 40 seats. Meanwhile, the Mahagathbandhan, led by RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal), INC (Indian National Congress), and RLSP (Rashtriya Lok Samta Party), only managed to secure one seat.

The Lok Sabha Elections 2024 will be held in seven phases from April 19. Counting of votes on June 4.

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