A rift has broken in the Bihar coalition government of the BJP and JDU after Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi on Saturday confirmed that the National Population Register (NPR) process will be held in the state. According to sources, the JDU leadership has rejected the NPR rollout and has said that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has not taken a decision yet on the issue. The reports of the rift have emerged in the alliance at a time the state is heading into Assembly polls.
"NPR in Bihar will begin from May 15 to May 28. Every state of the country has decided on different dates. Every state of the country has to do it, it is a statutory process. If one fails to do so, along with a fine, will be jailed for up to three years," Sushil Modi said.
Moreover, reiterating PM Modi's statement said, "There is no move to have an NRC at present. Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made this clear. Statements by any other leader on the issue have no importance now."
In his press conference Sushil Modi hit out at Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan; both have been vocal in their opposition to the NPR, the NRC and CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act). "NPR and NRC are two different things. No state, including West Bengal, Kerala or Rajasthan, can refuse to implement CAA or NPR as the centre has the power to bring legislation... preparing NPR is a statutory provision and no state can refuse," he said, blaming the opposition Congress and RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) for creating confusion.
Banerjee and Vijayan are among several state leaders who have spoken out against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the NPR. On Friday, Vijayan wrote to 11 Chief Ministers, including Banerjee, urging them to unite; the missive was similar in spirit to one written by the Trinamool Congress leader last month, in which she called on opposition leaders to "save India's soul".
(with PTI inputs)