Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday criticised the National Register of Citizens (NRC) saying that there was “no question” or need to implement it in Bihar.
Signalling for the first time, his reservations on the controversial law, Kumar emphasized in the state assembly that NRC was in discussions only in the context of Assam and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also clarified on it.
The chief minister also asserted that nationwide implementation of NRC was needless and had no justification.
“There should be a debate on CAA. If people want, then there will be a discussion in this house. As for NRC, there is no question of the NRC and no justification for it,” the Chief Minister was quoted as saying in the Bihar Assembly by NDTV.
Referring to an impassioned speech made by Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav, who had demanded that the chief minister, who is an ally of the BJP, come clean on the issue of Citizenship (Amendment) Act, NRC and National Population Register (NPR), Kumar wondered from where did this talk of NRC sprung up.
The country is witnessing huge turmoil on these issues (CAA, NRC and NPR), Kumar said, adding that “we should keep in mind that NRC was an exercise confined to Assam as part of the accord signed by the Rajiv Gandhi government”.
This is a major climbdown after his support to Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Parliament in December 2019.
However, apparently finding that his party’s move to support CAB has not gone down well among his voters, Nitish Kumar soon after announced not to implement the National Register for Citizens (NRC) in the state.
The first such statement came from JD(U) vice-president and poll strategist Prashant Kishor who revealed that the chief minister was not in the favour of enforcing NRC in the state.
The move is being described as an attempt to calm down the growing anger of the Muslim community in the state who has been on the streets against the centre’s move.
“Kahe ka NRC? Kyon lagu hoga NRC (Why the NRC will be implemented in Bihar)?” Nitish had earlier shot back when asked by reporters for his comment on Centre’s plan to roll out the NRC.
Meanwhile, Prashant Kishor on Sunday formally declared that the new Citizenship law or the CAA as well as the National Register for Citizens (NRC) won’t be implemented in Bihar.
Kishor is considered only next to Nitish in the party hierarchy, indicating the importance of his announcement.
He also thanked the Congress leadership for their formal and unequivocal rejection of CAA and NRC.
However, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has not commented anything on the National Population Register (NPR), which is seen as the first step towards a nationwide exercise to implement the NRC.
His deputy in the government, Sushil Kumar Modi has announced that the NPR exercise will begin on May 15 and continue till May 28.
Meanwhile, Pavan Varma, former Rajya Sabha member and JD-U General Secretary, has written a letter to the Chief Minister opposing the National Population Register.