Patna. In the past few days, various castes in Bihar have been impatient to find out how fast their GDP grew in the last fiscal year. Such demands have been on rise after the state government declared that Bihar’s GDP grew by 11.44% in 2008-2009, making it one of the fastest growing states of India. But the castes in Bihar are more eager to know which has been the fastest growing caste.
“Such figures don’t make sense. Did it benefit the Kurmis, that’s more important, and we must know that.” said Satish Kumar, who was ecstatic to see Nitish Kumar, a fellow Kurmi, becoming Chief Minister five years back. Satish has been in PMCH (Patna Medical College Hospital) for the last six months, recovering from a fatal attack from his maternal nephew, incidentally also a Kurmi.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Bhumihars, who were marginalized during the tenure of Lalu Yadav and his wife, and now want to make up for all the GDP losses in those fifteen years. Yadavs too want a caste based GDP figure to find out how much has it hurt them, if at all, while the Dalits, along with the newly formed Mahadalits, are keen to assess their performance as well.
“Such statements shouldn’t be shocking. People in our country vote on caste lines and hence there is nothing wrong if they want development figures along caste lines as well. In fact, I’m sure that soon such demands will be raised all over India. The government should start declaring caste and community based figures. We need such figures to support the policy of reservations to create social parity.” leading economist and sociologist Asatya Sen said.
Political parties have surprisingly denounced such demands even though they have been making list of election candidates based on caste considerations. Congress, which had recently prepared a caste-wise list of their party office-bearers in the state, termed such demands as unconstitutional and a threat to the national security. JD-U and BJP too have opposed such demands while RJD has altogether trashed the idea of caste based candidature for elections.
“We don’t believe in any caste system. Our supremo had already declared that anyone going to jail will win poll tickets. Where is the caste consideration?” a supporter defended RJD policies.
But most people have rejected such arguments and have justified the demands for caste-based development figures. “If state-wise development figures don’t amount to regionalism, how come our demands are being labeled as casteism?” asked Maya Tripathi, one of the common people.