Political strategist and JD(U) national vice president Prashant Kishor on Sunday (December 15) came out with a fresh tirade against the National Register for Citizens — which the Centre proposes to implement across the country — a day after he had a meeting with party boss and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Kishor, who had told reporters on Saturday (December 14) night that Kumar has asked him not to pay heed to those within the party who were frowning upon his candour, tweeted against NRC – drawing a parallel with the Narendra Modi government’s move to demonetise high-value notes in 2016.
“The idea of nationwide NRC is equivalent to demonetization of citizenship invalid till you prove it otherwise. The biggest sufferers would be the poor and the marginalized…we know from experience,” tweeted Kishor, adding hashtag #NotGivingUP, which he has been using ever since his outpourings against the JD(U)’s stand of supporting the Citizenship (Amendment Bill) in Parliament came under attack from leaders of the party.
The idea of nation wide NRC is equivalent to demonetisation of citizenship….invalid till you prove it otherwise.
The biggest sufferers would be the poor and the marginalised…we know from the experience!!#NotGivingUp
— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) December 15, 2019
Sources close to the chief minister said that after his party opposed citizenship bill when it was first tabled in Parliament in January 2019, Kumar changed his stance as the BJP — JD(U)’s alliance partner — put forward the argument that the legislation was aimed at granting citizenship to more people and not otherwise.
However, the eruption of violence against the Citizenship Amendment Act in the adjoining West Bengal, besides the northeast — where the JD(U) has made inroads in a few states — is said to have left Kumar iffy.
Sources claimed that he might stick to his original stand of opposing the NRC.
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Kishor had dropped ample hints to the effect when he said on Saturday that the amended Citizenship Act “per se” was not problematic but with NRC it became a “lethal combo” that
would be “discriminatory”.
Kumar, who has over the years weaned over a section of Muslims of Bihar from Lalu Prasad’s RJD, has been apparently uneasy over the belligerence of some BJP leaders who have asserted that the state’s Seemanchal region — sharing borders with Nepal and Bangladesh — was teeming with “illegal immigrants” who would be driven out once the NRC was in place.
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When Kishor was on Saturday asked by reporters about several legislators, especially those from the minority community, being jittery about the backlash that the party’s support to the amended Act could lead to, he had replied, “The chief minister is going to have a word with them and address their concerns.”
However, the latest salvo by Kishor, who first shot to fame after he handled Narendra Modi’s successful poll campaign in 2014, is likely to rankle the BJP, which has been baffled by his defiant opposition to the stand taken by the JD(U) and Kumar’s reluctance to crack the whip on the former poll strategist whom he had inducted into the party in September last year and elevated to a top post in a few weeks.