Meeting today with a delegation from Bihar, including Prime Minister Nitish Kumar and Tejashwi Yadav, about their demand for a caste-based census, Prime Minister Narendra Modi began asking about the health of RJD leader Lalu Yadav.
Sources say the delegation was surprised when Prime Minister Modi Tejashwi Yadav asked several questions about his father before starting the meeting agenda and Nitish Kumar’s presentation.
Lalu Yadav, 73, has been in and out of hospital with a breathing problem. He also has other ailments, including kidney disease and heart problems.
The head of the Rashtriya Janata Party (RJD) was admitted to AIIMS hospital in Delhi in January while serving a prison term for corruption. He was released on bail in April. He spent much of his sentence in the prison hospital in Jharkhand’s Ranchi.
“How is Lalu you‘, Prime Minister Modi reportedly asked Tejashwi Yadav, who went on to explain the health problems of the RJD chief. The Prime Minister wished him a speedy recovery.
He also reportedly teased former Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi about his mask, commenting: “You are wearing a mask, how can we see your smiling face?” Nitish Kumar intervened, in a similar vein: “It is you who issued the directive to be masked in public …”
The delegation later called on Prime Minister Modi to make “the right decision” about their demand for a caste-based census in Bihar and across the country.
“People in Bihar and all over the country are of the same opinion on this issue. We are grateful to the Prime Minister for listening to us. We urge him to make an appropriate decision,” Nitish Kumar said after the meeting.
“Our delegation met the Prime Minister today, not just for the caste census in the state… but across the country. If animals and trees can be counted, so can people… measure,” Tejashwi Yadav said.
Tejashwi Yadav also pointed out that “religion” and “SC/ST” were already listed in census forms and only an extra column for caste needed to be inserted.