Saturday, May 8, 2021

Stick to old format of NPR, do not add new questions: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar tells Centre

Patna, January 28: Amid the ongoing protests in several districts of Bihar against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and proposed National Population Register (NPR), Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday (January 28) said that the matter of CAA is now in the Supreme Court and if someone has an issue with the new legislation, they can raise their objections before the apex court. “The matter of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is in the Supreme Court and it will be debated there. If someone has an issue, they can put it there,” said Kumar.
Commenting on the NPR, Kumar said that the people must remember that the NPR has been there since 2012 but some clauses are now added in it and these are likely to create confusion. The Bihar CM said that the questions over the parents’ birthday should be removed and the Centre should continue with the old format.
“The National Population Register (NPR) has been there since 2011, now happening…it’s not a new thing. New points added in it are likely to create confusion. Not everyone knows their parents’ birthday… We believe the old format should continue,” he said.
Reiterating his stand on National Register of Citizens, the Bihar CM said that NRC will not be implemented in the state and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also said the same during a rally in New Delhi. “We have said it earlier too, the question over National Register of Citizens (NRC) does not arise, Prime Minister has also said there have been no talks over it,” asserted Kumar.
Reacting to the arrest of anti-CAA activist Sharjeel Imam from Bihar’s Jehanabad, Kumar said that action against him will be taken as per law. “Whenever someone does something wrong, there is an action accordingly. No one should go against the law. Whatever he said, what action will be taken is for police and court to decide,” Kumar said.
It is to be noted that Imam was charged with sedition in five states for allegedly delivering inflammatory speeches in which he had said that Assam should be cut off from the rest of India in order to teach a lesson to the Centre.
“It’s ok whether he stays or leaves”: Nitish Kumar on Prashant Kishor
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today all but formally expelled close aide Prashant Kishor, who has been needling him on the citizenship law and openly targeting ally BJP in tweets. “Rahega to theek, nahi rahega to theek. (If he stays, it’s ok. If he goes, it’s ok),” Mr Kumar said after a meeting with party leaders and lawmakers this afternoon.
“”Already he works as a strategist for various parties, but I’m making one thing clear, if he wants to remain in the party he will have to adopt the basic structure of the party,” warned the Janata Dal United (JDU) chief.
Prashant Kishor, master poll strategist and JDU’s number two, also got a caustic reminder from his boss about the reason he is in the party. “Do you know how he joined the party? Amit Shah told me to induct him. He must have something on his mind? Maybe wants to leave…,” Mr Kumar remarked.
But days after his sharp words to another senior leader Pavan Varma, the Chief Minister stopped short of declaring any formal action.
“Someone wrote a letter. I replied to it. Someone is tweeting, let him tweet. Anyone can stay as long as they want, leave whenever they want. Ours is a different kind of party,” Mr Kumar told reporters.
The Chief Minister’s comments revealed that his patience was wearing thin with two prominent aides turned dissenters.
Prashant Kishor, the man known to have the Midas touch when it comes to winning elections, said: “Nitish Ji has spoken, you should wait for my answer. I will come to Bihar to answer him.”
Since he was made JDU vice president in 2018, Prashant Kishor has been among Mr Kumar’s top advisers but that has not stopped him from taking up jobs on the side – he is working with both Mamata Banerjee for the Bengal election and Arvind Kejriwal for the February 8 Delhi election. It has also not stopped him from contradicting his party’s stand.
Mr Kishor has relentlessly attacked ally BJP on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act – which the JDU supported in parliament — and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Another JDU leader who has been a vocal critic of the citizenship law – Pavan Varma – last week wrote an open letter to Nitish Kumar challenging him on his party’s stand on CAA and revealing their private conversations about the BJP. Mr Varma was publicly snubbed for his efforts, with Mr Kumar saying: “He is free to go and join any party he likes, my best wishes.”