JD(U) Rajya Sabha MP Pawan Varma became the second leader to publically urge chief Nitish Kumar to reconsider the support to Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Parliament. The JD(U) leader in a tweet, called the Bill "unconstitutional and discriminatory," moreover tagged it to be against the secular values of the party.
Pawan Varma, in a tweet directed to the chief minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar, said that Gandhiji would have 'strongly disapproved' the Bill, and accentuated how it stands against the 'unity and harmony' of India. "I urge Nitish Kumar to reconsider support to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill is unconstitutional, discriminatory, and against the unity and harmony of the country, apart from being against the secular principles of the JDU. Gandhiji would have strongly disapproved it," Pawan Varma, the former diplomat said.
Pawan Varma speaking to Republic TV called the Bill against the JD(U) party-line. He said, "I believe personally, as a disciplined member of the JD(U), that support to a Bill of this nature, is discriminatory and to my mind, unconstitutional. It is not in consonance with the JD(U) itself. Apart from personal conservation with Nitish Kumar, he also publicly asked him to reconsider his position."
"It is in the best interest of the party to oppose the Bill, which discriminates citizens on the basis of religion. We, therefore, part of the inner-party democracy urged the national president to reconsider. We will see what happens tomorrow in the Rajya Sabha," the JD(U) leader added.
On Monday, JD(U) vice president Prashant Kishor revolted against Nitish Kumar for backing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Parliament on Monday. He expressed his disappointment over the Bill granting India citizenship to immigrants from neighbouring countries on the basis of religion. Moreover, slammed the JDU for toeing a line against secularism and Gandhian ideals.
After the conclusion of a 12-hour-long debate, which saw the participation of 38 MPs from across the political spectrum, the Lok Sabha on Monday midnight passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 with 311 votes in favor and 80 against the Bill. Opposition leaders Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Saugata Roy, N K Premchandran, Gaurav Gogoi, Shashi Tharoor, and Assaduddin Owaisi opposed the introduction of the bill in the Lok Sabha, which seeks to give citizenship to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan escaping religious persecution there, saying it was violative of various provisions of the Constitution, including move to grant citizenship on the basis of religion.
The tabling of the emotive bill comes even as there were protests and incidents of violence in Northeastern states with most of the student unions and regional political parties opposing it, saying it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion. The BJP-led NDA government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure and got Lok Sabha's approval. But it did not introduce it in Rajya Sabha, apparently due to vehement protests in the Northeast and lack of majority in the House.