Patna: Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar on Wednesday expelled two senior party leaders Prashant Kishor and Pawan Verma for challenging and questioning his support to Citizenship (Amendment) Act [CAA].
By expelling both—Kishor, party national vice-president and Verma, party general secretary—from the JD-U, Nitish Kumar has assured ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that there is no place in the party for those opposing CAA.
“Nitish Kumar has sent a political message not only to his ally BJP, but also to his constituency that he is in favour of CAA and will not tolerate any opposition to it by his party leaders,” said a political expert, Satya Narayan Madan.
Madan, who has known Nitish Kumar since early days of his political career, told NewsClick that Kumar has ousted Kishor and Verma to get a little more comfortable with and closer to the BJP top leadership by this action. “Whether Nitish Kumar will gain or lose by supporting CAA, it is difficult to say now. But he is sure to gain confidence of BJP’s leadership to ensure that his chair remain safe.”
This expulsion hasn’t come as a surprise to the party members, as the two leaders had openly criticised CAA, even as JD(U) had voted in favour of the bill in Parliament.
The party, in its official release, tried to downplay this stance of them, saying that “their conduct in the recent past has made it clear that they don’t want to abide by the party’s discipline”. These two were “acting against party’s decisions as well as its functioning” which amounted to breach of discipline.
The party also accused Kishor of using “insulting words” against the Bihar chief minister.
In fact, Kishor on Tuesday night had directly attacked Nitish Kumar, accusing him of “lying” about his induction into the party.
“NitishKumar what a fall for you to lie about how and why you made me join JDU!! Poor attempt on your part to try and make my colour same as yours! And if you are telling the truth who would believe that you still have courage not to listen to someone recommended by AmitShah?” Kishor questioned in a tweet.
Last week, Kishor had even dared Union Home Minister Amit Shah to implement CAA and NRC ignoring the dissent and protests.
In his latest tweet on January 22, he had said, “Being dismissive of citizens’ dissent couldn’t be the sign of strength of any government, Amit Shah Ji, if you don’t care for those protesting against CAA and NRC, why don’t you go ahead and try implementing the CAA and NRC in the chronology that you so audaciously announced to the nation.”
Kishor’s tweet had made it clear that Nitish Kumar’s support to CAA to keep its ally BJP in good humour, is not backed by everyone in the party.
Earlier, Verma had written a letter to the CM seeking ideological clarity on the party’s relationship with the BJP and also on CAA, but to no avail.