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As Citizenship Act criticism grows, first BJP ally dissents: JD-U says it doesn’t support NRC

NRC with CAB is dangerous, discriminatory, says Prashant Kishor after meeting with Nitish Kumar. The JD(U) is the first BJP ally to come out openly against the NRC.

Written by Santosh Singh , Vishnu Varma | Kochi, Patna | Updated: December 15, 2019 8:15:24 am
citizenship amendment bill, cab protests, JDU on citizenship Bill, JDU on NRC, nrc in assam, Assam NRC protests, nrc in assam, cab protests, cab protests 2019, nitish kumar A protest against the citizenship law at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Saturday. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

JD(U) vice president Prashant Kishor said on Saturday that party chief Nitish Kumar is against the nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise planned by the central government.

JD(U) national spokesperson K C Tyagi confirmed that the party — a BJP ally that backed the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Parliament — had “officially” decided to “say no to NRC”. The JD(U) is the first BJP ally to come out openly against the NRC.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has repeatedly said she would not allow the NRC to be implemented in her state. After the CAB was passed, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the “anti-Constitutional law will have no place” in Kerala, and Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh said his government “will not allow the Bill to be implemented in Punjab”.

In Kerala, bitter political rivals CPM and Congress — and the multi-party coalitions they lead— have planned to unite in a protest against the new citizenship law in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday.

After a two-hour meeting with the Bihar chief minister, Kishor, who has been posting tweets critical of both the NRC and CAB over the last few days, said: “Nitish Kumar is with the party’s (JD-U’s) earlier stand of saying no to NRC. NRC with CAB is dangerous. If there is no NRC, CAB per se is okay. The CM said CAB is a Bill to give citizenship, but if it is linked with NRC, it becomes discriminatory.”

Prashant Kishor, Prashant Kishor Citizenship Bill, Citizenship Bill JDU, Citizenship Bill Nitish Kumar, Nitish Kumar JDU, Indian Express news Kishor also said he was “disappointed” that the JD-U, whose “constitution… carries the word secular thrice on the very first page and (whose)leadership… is supposedly guided by Gandhian ideals”, was supporting CAB.

Kishor said his personal stand on the CAB remained unchanged from what he had posted on Twitter. On December 13, Kishor had tweeted: “The majority prevailed in Parliament. Now beyond judiciary, the task of saving the soul of India is on 16 Non-BJP CMs as it is the states who have to operationalise these acts.”

A day previously, he had posted: “We are told that #CAB is bill to grant citizenship and not to take it from anyone. But the truth is together with #NRC, it could turn into a lethal combo in the hands of Government to systematically discriminate and even prosecute people based on religion.#NotGivingUp”

Kishor had also said he was “disappointed” that the JD-U, whose “constitution… carries the word secular thrice on the very first page and (whose)leadership… is supposedly guided by Gandhian ideals”, was supporting CAB.

On Saturday, Kishor, who had reportedly offered to resign after being targeted by senior JD-U leader and Rajya Sabha MP RCP Singh, was advised by Nitish to work for the party. Following the CM’s intervention, Kishor also played down his differences with RCP Singh.

K C Tyagi told The Sunday Express: “The entire party is solidly behind party chief Nitish Kumar for saying no to NRC. We had earlier said as much, but our support to CAB would have created confusion.” Tyagi said the party’s official stand of saying no to NRC had crystallised after the CM’s meeting with Prashant Kishor.

Supporting the CAB in both Houses, the JD(U) had said the Bill was not discriminatory, because it was not going to hurt Indian Muslims. Rajiv Ranjan Singh spoke in Lok Sabha and RCP Singh in Rajya Sabha, but no party spokesperson had spoken on the matter.

Following Saturday’s developments, Bihar BJP president Dr Sanjay Jaiswal said the BJP’s stand was “well known”. “Though I have not seen the statement of Prashant Kishor, our stand is well known. Our stand is what our national president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah has already said,” Jaiswal said. “Let us bask in the glory of CAB,” he added.

Jaiswal parried questions on possible differences with its alliance partner JD-U over its stand on the NRC.
In Kerala, leaders of the Left Democratic Front (LDF), including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his Ministers, and those of the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) will attend a satyagraha outside the martyrs’ column in the state capital to send out a message that both coalitions are united in the fight against the citizenship legislation. The decision was taken after Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala spoke to the CM over the phone.

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