Nitish Kumar breaks his month-long silence on the CAA protests after Rashtriya Janata Dal's (RJD) Tejashwi Yadav attacked the religion-based citizenship law.
Nitish Kumar says he was open to a debate on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in the Bihar assembly, signalling, for the first time, his reservations on the controversial law that his party Janata Dal (United) supported in parliament. On the National Register of Citizenship (NRC), Nitish Kumar said that there was “no question” of or need for implementing it in Bihar.
While Nitish Kumar had ruled out the NRC in his state earlier, this is the first time he emphasized it in the state assembly, making it official.
The Chief Minister broke his month-long silence on the CAA protests after Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)’s Tejashwi Yadav attacked the religion-based citizenship law in the special one-day session of the Bihar assembly called to ratify a quota measure.
“There should be a debate on CAA. If people want, then there will be a discussion in this house,” the Chief Minister told the house.
“As for NRC, there is no question of the NRC. This was in the context of Assam and no need for it. Even Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) had clarified on this,” he said.
He went on to clarify on the National Population Register or NPR, which has also been opposed by many non-BJP states that feel it is a precursor to the NRC. The NPR requires people to declare the “date and place of birth of both parents” for the first time; such data was not collected for the NPR in 2010.
After the NPR was notified in Bihar, Kumar was accused by his critics of accepting the NRC to appease his ally BJP.
“I will ask for the details on the modified questions on which everyone is raising objections,” Kumar said on the NPR.
After his comments in the assembly, the Chief Minister told reporters later that states have a limited role in the implementation of the citizenship law.
Speaking at the special session of the Assembly convened to ratify the 126th Constitution Amendment Bill, which proposes to extend SC/ST quota in Lok Sabha and State Assemblies by another 10 years, Kumar extended support to the caste-based census and said, “This will clarify how many people belong to which caste as the last caste-based census took place in 1930.”
Kumar’s party JD-U had supported the Citizenship Amendment Act in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha last month, which triggered massive controversy within the party as party Vice President Prashant Kishor openly opposed it.