Ahead of the Bihar State Assembly elections, the Nitish Kumar government has recommended the inclusion of the Nishads and Nonias, who belong to the Extremely Backward Castes, into the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category, which will allow them to get reservation in government jobs.
Principle Secretary Shishir Sinha told reporters that the decision was taken by the state cabinet chaired by Kumar on Saturday.
Accusing Kumar of indulging in caste politics ahead of the elections, Sushil Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party’s senior leader in Bihar, said that the Janata Dal (United) leader had not followed up on former chief minister Rabri Devi’s recommendation to include these castes until June, 2015.
"Rabri Devi had recommended the inclusion of the three castes into the SC category in December 2002. Nitish did not do a follow-up on the issue when he came to power. He recommended the inclusion of these castes in the SC category on June 8, 2015. Nitish yesterday recommended the inclusion of the castes into the ST category. It shows that Nitish is cheating these castes the manner in which Lalu-Rabri had cheated them,” Modi said, The Telegraph reported.
“It is nothing but a conspiracy to dupe Nishads, who were not given their due in the last 10 years. How can Nitish government include Nishads in Dalit category when it can be done only through a Constitutional amendment by the Centre. Then state government is also exploring the option to put Nishads in the scheduled tribe category. Is it not a poll sop?,” he told The Indian Express.