A day after BJP leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi announced the dates for collection of data for the National Population Register (NPR), JD(U) spokesman Pavan Varma called upon Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to reject the “divisive CAA-NPR-NRC scheme”.
However, the BJP said Varma has overlooked the Bihar government’s December 18 notification that was published in a gazette on January 3.
In an open letter to Nitish, Varma expressed surprise at the “unilateral” announcement by Modi that the process for the collection of NPR data will be carried out during May 15 to May 28 despite Nitish taking a clear position against the NRC. Varma described the move as a “nefarious agenda to divide India and create a great deal of unnecessary social turbulence”.
Varma said the nation is at a crucial point. “The choice before political leaders is stark: either to work to save the idea of India as a plural, composite, multi-religious nation in which there is respect for all faiths, and social harmony and peace prevails, or, to see it being divided by organised attempts at creating discord and acrimony among Indians on the basis of religion,” he wrote, adding that CAA-NRC is a direct attempt to divide the country and create social instability.
“Besides, it will impose great hardships on Indians as a whole, especially the poor, marginalised and vulnerable belonging to all communities. The central government needs to focus on the real priorities of governance such as the disastrous state of the economy,” Varma wrote.
However, JD(U) national spokesperson K C Tyagi reiterated that the NPR must not be confused with the NRC. “NPR had been introduced during the UPA regime. Now that PM has clarified that there would be no NRC, there is no problem going with NPR.”
BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said, “Pavan Varma’s criticism of the Bihar deputy CM makes no sense because the land and revenue department had duly notified NPR on December 18 and it was published in a gazette on January 3.” — With ENS, New Delhi
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