Amid massive tussle within the ruling Janta Dal-United (JDU) in Bihar, now Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday has said that the National Population Register (NPR) should not have a new format as it will create confusion. He also said that the inclusion of the new format is creating "unnecessary confusion and fear" amongst people. Even as he clarified that he is against National Register of Citizens (NRC), he urged the Central government to continue the old format of the NPR.
“The NPR has been there since 2011, it’s not a new thing but, in the new format with more questions, it can create confusion in the country,” he said while addressing media after a JD(U) party meeting at his official residence on Anne Marg. “Nobody knows their parents’ birth date, we believe that the Central government should continue with the old format of NPR,” he added.
When asked about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed nationwide NRC he said, “We’ve already said NRC will not be implemented in the State and as far as CAA is concerned the matter is now in Supreme Court and will be debated there. If someone has an issue, they can put it there."
Nitish Kumar had earlier clarified that NRC will not be implemented in the state, even after supporting CAA. “Kaahe ka NRC? Bilkul laagu nahin hoga” (NRC, what for? Will not at all be implemented), Kumar had quipped becoming the first chief minister from the NDA camp to have voiced disapproval of a pan-India NRC. he reiterated the same while interacting to the media on January 28. Nitish had also in the Bihar assembly said that there can be an "open discussion on NRC."
Even as his party voted in favour of the amendment in the citizenship bill in the Parliament, JDU vice president Prashant Kishor has been vocal to reject it, along with NRC and NPR, stating that it will damage the secular fabric of the nation. Kishor had even gone to an extent to submit his resignation to CM and JDU chief Nitish Kumar, who rejected it and had reportedly assured that the matter will be discussed. Meanwhile, Kishor had indulged in a Twitter spat with Deputy CM and BJP's Sushil Kumar Modi and had thanked Opposition leaders including Congress former chief Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Kishor's induction in JDU as party's vice president in September 2018 raised many eyebrows. However, following his induction, the JDU fared extremely well in the Lok Sabha polls along with ally BJP, completely decimating Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD Kishor, a poll strategist heading a team called I-PAC, worked for Andhra CM Jagan Mohan Reddy's election campaign even as he held the post of JDU VC. The twist in the events came when his team was roped-in to assist West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee for 2021 assembly polls.
Even as it stirred controversy and irked the ally BJP, Nitish Kumar had said that he does not interfere in Kishor's work. Kishor is currently working for Arvind Kejriwal for the Delhi polls. In the course of campaigning, Kishor has not only targeted the BJP but has gone on to question former BJP chief Amit Shah. Breaking his silence even as things seemed out of place within the JDU, Nitish Kumar on January 28 said that it was Amit Shah who asked him to induct Kishor in the party. He also issued an ultimatum to Kishor, saying "he may go wherever he wants but if he stays, he will have to be within the party limits."
Soon after the Bihar CM placed the ball in BJP's court, Kishor called Nitish a "liar" claiming that he is not revealing the circumstances under which he was "made to join JDU." Taking to Twitter, he said: "Poor attempt on your part to try and make my colour same as yours." With few months left for the assembly polls in Bihar, it is interesting to see how the internal tussle within the JDU unfolds, at a time when Kishor had also stated that JDU will be a big brother and olive branches shown to Nitish from RJD.