The ruling JD-U, led by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, has got vertically split over the contentious issues of the Citizenship act and the NRC with one section supporting them and another vociferously opposing them in public. The development has come as a huge embarrassment to the party ahead of the coming assembly elections even as the party leadership looks helpless.

A day after the party’s national general secretary Pavan Varma sought “ideological clarifications” from the party president Kumar over his move to enter into alliance with the BJP outside Bihar after bitterly criticising the top BJP leadership, on Wednesday it was the turn of JD-U vice-president Prashant Kishor to launch a frontal attack on Union home minister Amit Shah over the contentious issues. Kishor is just next to the chief minister in the party hierarchy and that is why much importance is being attached to his open criticisms.

“Being dismissive of citizens’ dissent couldn’t be the sign of strength of any Govt @amitshah Ji, if you don’t care for those protesting against #CAA_NRC, why don’t you go ahead and try implementing the CAA & NRC in the chronology that you so audaciously announced to the nation!” tweeted Kishor on Wednesday.

Kishor reacted a day after Shah declared not to roll back the Citizenship law. However, his move has invited bitter criticisms from both the JD-U and the BJP.

Reports said the JD-U has taken cognizance of the statements of both Varma and Kishor. What was interesting, the BJP too jointed the battle, severely attacking Kishor. “Prashant Kishor’s comments on the home minister are very shameful, indecent, uncourteous and not tolerable,” commented state BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand. He alleged the Kishor is nothing more than “bhade ka tattu” (a person who works only for pay) who can’t win even the elections of Mukhiya. He said Kishor has even right to disagree but his “pro-Pakistani tone” can’t be tolerated in the name of “freedom of expression” and “voice of dissent”.

Meanwhile, the JD-U leadership has slammed Varma for questioning the political ideology of Nitish Kumar saying he is free to take his own course of action. State JD-U president Vashishtha Narayan said Varma had contributed nothing to the party adding he would ask the national party head to initiate action against Varma. The party leadership has also removed both Varma and Kishor as star campaigners for Delhi elections.