Patna: Janata Dal-United’s national vice-president, Prashant Kishor, on Friday, December 13, urged non-BJP chief ministers to “save the soul of India” by saying no to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill [CAB]. Kishor’s statement comes even after JD-U’s advisory to its leaders warning against expressing their views in opposition to the CAB and National Register of Citizenship.
The well-known poll strategist, who was once considered close to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, has been expressing his disagreement from the party’s stand to support the CAB in public. In his latest tweet on December 13, he said, “The majority prevailed in the parliament. Now beyond judiciary, the task of saving the soul of India is on sixteen non-BJP CMs as it is the states who have to operationalise these acts. Three CMs of Punjab, Kerala and West Bengal, have said NO to the CAB and the NRC. Time for others to make their stand clear.”
Till December 12, Prashant Kishor was targeting Nitish Kumar over JD-U’s support to CAB and NRC and expressed his open opposition to the party stand. “While supporting the CAB, the JDU leadership should spare a moment for all those who reposed their faith and trust in it in 2015. We must not forget that but for the victory of 2015, the party and its managers wouldn’t have been left with much to cut any deal with anyone,” he had earlier said in a tweet.
Earlier this week, a day after JD-U supported the CAB in Lok Sabha, three senior party leaders had come forward against it and urged Nitish Kumar to reconsider the party’s support to CAB in the Rajya Sabha. However, this did not deter the JD-U from supporting CAB in Rajya Sabha. Prashant Kishor was the first JD-U leader to publicly express disappointment over his party’s support to CAB in the Lok Sabha, holding that the legislation discriminates against people "on the basis of religion".
In September 2019 too, Kishor had opposed the NRC by terming the final NRC in Assam as a botched up exercise. Following him, another senior JD-U leader, Pavan K Verma, had also expressed his opposition to the party’s stand on CAB. Gulam Rasool Bakyawi and Ghulam Gaus from JD-U had also urged Nitish Kumar to reconsider the decision to support CAB.
However, Nitish Kumar has kept his silence over his party’s support to the controversial Bill. According to JD-U leaders, the party may initiate action against Kishor for openly expressing a different stand on CAB than the party’s. A senior JD-U leader admitted that the party is under pressure from top leadership of its ally, BJP, to take action against Kishor.
Meanwhile, protests against CAB as well as a nationwide NRC continued in Bihar on Friday with hundreds taking to streets, demanding scrapping of the Bill. A massive public meeting against the CAB and the NRC is to be held on December 16 in Purnea district, which will be addressed by former president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU), Kanhaiya Kumar. Along with Kumar, leaders from Left parties as well as from the Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal are also going to address the meeting.