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Mahagathbandhan Govt Challenges BJP-led Centre Over Bihar’s Special Status and Reservation Amendment

Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav emphasised the need for PM Modi to clarify the central government’s stance.

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Patna: Leaders from the ruling Mahagathbandan have dared the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government to address Bihar’s demand for a special category status publicly and consider incorporating Bihar’s increased reservation in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution if the BJP does not oppose reservation.

Following the state cabinet’s resolution seeking special category status for Bihar, Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav emphasised the need for PM Modi to clarify the central government’s stance. Tejashwi urged a public declaration of whether the Centre is unwilling to fulfil Bihar’s demand.

“Centre should grant special status now; Bihar Chief Minister has demanded Special Status for the state many times from the Centre. But PM Modi is ignoring it. If you (Modi) don’t want to give Special Status to Bihar, clarify it in the public domain and then we will look into it and work in our own way to develop Bihar,” said Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav, who is a leader of the RJD, a major ally of Mahagathbandan.

Responding to Union Minister Giriraj Singh’s call to ban the sale of halal-certified food products, Tejashwi redirected attention to more pressing issues such as unemployment, poverty, and development.

Tejashwi, in a strong reply to Union Minister Griraj Singh’s demand for a ban on the sale of halal-certified food products in Bihar on the line of Uttar Pradesh, said the main issue for people is unemployment, poverty and development. 

He criticised the BJP’s focus on Hindu-Muslim polarisation, highlighting the need for job creation and economic growth.” BJP leaders should very well understand that people’s stomachs are filled through getting jobs, not by doing temple-mosque politics,” he said in Hindi.

Challenging the BJP-led Centre, Bihar’s Finance and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, demanded a constitutional amendment to increase reservation if the BJP supports reservation. He stressed the state government’s demand to include reservation increments in the Ninth Schedule, seeking immunity from judicial review.

Bihar’s decision to augment reservation aligns with the recent caste survey data, spotlighting the socioeconomic realities within various castes. The survey reflects Bihar’s diverse population, comprising 36% EBCs, 27% OBCs, 19% SCs (Dalits), and 1.68% STs (Adivasis).

These findings underscore a distressing fact: many families, mainly Dalits, Adivasis, OBCs, and EBCs, are grappling with extreme poverty, with monthly incomes as low as Rs 6,000.

The survey reveals high poverty rates among different communities. For instance, 42.93% of SC, 42.70% of ST, 33.16% of OBC, and 33.58% of EBC families are identified as poor. Among the SCs, the Musahar community suffers the most, with 54% of families living in poverty.

CM Nitish Kumar, reiterating the longstanding demand for special status, emphasised the state’s need for enhanced assistance from the Centre. The recent cabinet resolution reinforces Bihar’s need for support, considering its substantial population struggling with poverty.

In 2010, Kumar initiated a campaign advocating for special category status. The demand has remained central to JD(U) ’s election manifestos since then, prompting political assertions and actions to secure this status.

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