Since the day news surfaced that several senior leaders of the Janata Dal (United) [JD(U)] have serious differences with election manager and party vice-president Prashant Kishor, he has been issuing one statement against another against the Narendra Modi government, which the unquestionable leader of his party and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar never does. After prematurely demanding a bulk of seats for the JD(U) in Bihar assembly elections slated for the second half of this year, he has said the citizenship law amended by the parliament (referred to popularly as CAA) and nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) will not be applied to Bihar.
JD(U) vice president Prashant Kishor is among those leaders who are constantly targeting the CAA. Even though the JDU voted in support of this bill in Sansad, he is opposing this bill. He even criticised the INC for its “wavering attitude” on the bill. But now he is asking the INC to take a strong stand against the CAA.
Some time ago, when leftists were protesting against the CAA and NRC in many parts of the country, Kishor questioned the absence of the INC in those public shows. But the INC took a sterner view of the CAA in the last few days, with Sonia Gandhi asking the governments of INC-ruled states to resolve against this law like Kerala. Meanwhile, Kishor has thanked Priyanka Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi for the INC stand.
Kishor said that he was assuring the people of Bihar that the CAA and NRC would not be applied to Bihar. His statement came a day after the Congress Working Committee meeting, after which party interim president Sonia Gandhi had said that the law was discriminatory. “Its purpose is to divide the entire country on the basis of religion,” she had said.
INC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi has visited different parts of Uttar Pradesh to meet families whose members have either been injured or killed in the anti-CAA riots. Priyanka Gandhi was part also of a sit-in protest against the CAA at India Gate.
While officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs have made it clear that it is beyond the powers of a state government to overrule a central law, non-cooperation by state-level bureaucrats can make the implementation of the CAA and a nationwide NRC a daunting task. To get over this hurdle, the Narendra Modi government is contemplating an online system of NRC registration as and when the plan to carry out the exercise nationwide is executed. Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Afghan refugees in India who qualify for citizenship according to the CAA will be able to apply for their citizenship online too.