Caste politics

Bihar: JD(U) leader says Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is no longer interested in Dalit welfare

Uday Narayan Choudhary added that he was always against the idea of the Janata Dal (United) joining the BJP-led alliance at the centre.

Janata Dal (United) leader Uday Narayan Choudhary accused party president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of not being interested in the welfare of Dalits any more, The Indian Express reported on Thursday.

“A year ago, the Bihar government did away with the scholarship scheme for Dalits, and replaced it with a loan scheme. It is totally unfair,” the former Bihar Speaker said. He added that he would not have reached his position had there been no scholarship for Scheduled Castes. “We played a key role in Nitish Kumar cultivating the Mahadalit constituency, but Nitish no longer has hold over them, as he is no longer focused on Dalit welfare,” Choudhary added.

Choudhary added that he was not targeting Nitish Kumar because Kumar had not made him a minister, but was only talking about the failure of policies. He said the Bihar government would not have survived after the Janata Dal (United) split from the National Democratic Alliance in 2013 had it not been for his support.

He said that since he held a Constitutional post, he had not criticised the government till now. But now, several reports suggested that Dalit welfare schemes are either poorly or not implemented. “The state government is now a partner of NDA, and will toe its line,” he said. Choudhary added that he was always against the idea of JD(U) joining the alliance at the Centre again.

On Monday, Choudhary and JD(U) General Secretary Shyam Rajak had opposed the demand for a review of the reservation policy in the state. Choudhary and Rajak said that the Narendra Modi government wanted to do away with quota in promotions as well as introduce creamy layers for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

They added that the central and state governments lacked the political will to deal with the issue.

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