Patna: Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ally and former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha on Thursday began a protest “with a difference” against CAA and NRC in Bihar. The Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) leader will reach out to people through his yatra (march) to mobilise them stand against the new Citizenship Act and the National Register of Citizens.
Kushwaha, who is now an ally of the opposition Grand Alliance of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress, started his yatra -”Samjho Samjhai Desh Bachao Yatra” (March to Understand, Explain, Save the Country) on Thursday from Motihari in East Champaran district, the historic land associated with Mahatma Gandhi’s first satyagraha.
During his 12-day-long yatra, Kushwaha will also address big and small meetings to inform and create awareness among people about why CAA and NRC are unconstitutional and not good for the country. He will tell people about “real motive” of BJP-led central government behind it.
“I am on the road to reach out to people with real facts related to CAA and NRC. It is my duty to let people know the dangerous motive of the BJP-led government. It is clear the country is in danger, so I decided to meet people directly “Kushwaha told NewsClick minutes before he formally began his yatra, that will end on January 8.
According to RLSP leaders, Kushwaha will also focus on issues related to education, health, unemployment and economic slowdown.
”Our leader will draw the attention of people to basic issues of unemployment and worst slowdown of economy to education and health to expose failure of the BJP-led government at the Centre and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in Bihar”, they said.
Kushwaha, who was earlier part of the Union cabinet, had directly attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “lies” about NCR and detention centres.
“Modi had publicly lied about NCR and detention centres during his address at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi (on December 22). This is never expected from people who are heading the government”, he had ssai.
Kushwaha, an OBC (Other Backward Class) leader belonging to the powerful Koeri community, who had participated in RJD’s Bihar Bandh to protest against CAA and NRC on December 21, had also extended his party’s support to Left parties’ call for Bihar Bandh to protest against CAA and NRC on December 19.
The Koeri community is the largest social group after Lalu Prasad's Yadav caste (Yadavs) in Bihar, and is widely being seen as a big challenge to BJP and Nitish Kumar led Janata Dal-United in the 2020 Bihar Assembly polls.
In the caste-ridden politics of Bihar, Kushwaha’s Party, RJD along with Congress, former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi of Hindustan Awami Morcha and Vikas Insaan Party of Mukesh Shahni are gearing up to take on the BJP-led NDA in next year's Assembly polls.
Modi Has Only Tactically Retreated From NRC: Kishor
Meanwhile, JD-U’s national vice-president, Prashant Kishor, on Thursday termed the the BJP-led central government much publicised claim that there have been no deliberations so far on a country-wide NRC as a “tactical retreat” in the face of nationwide protests against CAA and NRC.
"The claim of 'abhi to NRC ki koi charcha hi nahin hui hai' (we have not discussed NRC as yet) is nothing but a tactical retreat in the face of nationwide protests. It is a pause, not the full stop" Kishor, a well-known poll strategist, who was once considered close to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, said, once again expressing his disagreement from his party’s support to CAB, adding to speculation over the state government's “suspicious” stand.
"The government could wait till the Supreme Court judgement on CAA. A favourable court order and the whole process will be back", he said.
By saying this, Kishor has joined a number of people who have been expressing their doubts or suspicion over the BJP-led government motives behind doublespeak on NRC.
Earlier, Kishor had said "The majority prevailed in the parliament. Now beyond judiciary, the task of saving the soul of India is on 16 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.”
Last week, Kishor said the idea of nation-wide NRC was equivalent to “demonetisation of citizenship....invalid till you prove it otherwise. The biggest sufferers would be the poor and the marginalised...we know from the experience”.
Meanwhile, peaceful protests against the CAA and NRC continued in Bihar. Ths state has till now witnessed two shutdowns against the CAA and NRC—first by the Left parties supported by the other opposition parties on December 19 and again on December 21 by RJD, supported by all opposition parties and Left parties.