The BJP, which is part of the JD(U)-led ruling alliance in Bihar, became party to an unanimous resolution of the state Assembly Tuesday against implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) — the first NDA state to do so — and in favour of the National Population Register (NPR) exercise only under the 2010 format which did not include questions relating to the date of birth and place of parents and last residential address of the individual.
Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, who on January 4 announced that the NPR exercise in the state would be conducted between May 15 and May 28, was present in the House Tuesday when the resolution was adopted unanimously.
Later, he said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi had already clarified that there would be no NRC. Now, Assembly has unanimously passed a resolution that NRC would not be implemented and NPR would be implemented as per 2010 format. There is no need to produce any document in proof of anything. Assembly resolution is so clear that nobody will now get a chance to mislead people on citizenship and do politics over it.”
In the Assembly, Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar said the central government, in any case, had no plan to implement the NRC. He said his government had already requested the Centre to implement the new NPR according to the 2010 format.
BJP’s first official retreat
A week after protests erupted mid-Dec, PM read down Amit Shah’s assertion of nationwide NRC saying there was no discussion on the issue. A nationwide NRC is BJP’s manifesto promise. The Bihar BJP’s decision endorsing the resolution against NRC is the first direct retreat.
“Our letter to the central government on February 15 made it clear that the Centre had not notified any new format of questions to be asked in the NPR exercise. Since it has not been done, we have requested the Centre to stick to the old (2010) format, adding only a column for transgenders,” he said.
He said the additional three questions could lead to apprehension regarding an NRC in the future. “The apprehension is genuine if new elements (three questions) are added to NPR and if NRC is implemented in future. Hence, NRC should not be implemented. As for NPR, it should be implemented as per the 2010 provisions.”
Recalling Prime Minister Modi’s December 22 remarks that a countrywide NRC was never discussed, Nitish Kumar said the PM had put the record straight on NRC.
On the CAA, he said now that it had become a central Act, it was a subject of the Constitition. “It has gone before the Supreme Court and the court alone will decide if it is Constitutional or not. I would request all not to start an unnecessary debate on it. The Supreme Court will decide if CAA is right or wrong,” he said.
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