Patna: Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar on Monday formally announced in the state Assembly that there was “no question” of the National Register of Citizens(NRC) in Bihar and demanded a caste-based census in the country.
After countrywide protests against the new citizenship law (CAA) and NRC intensified, Kumar finally ended days of speculation over his party stand on the issue,s aying “No question of implementation of the NRC in Bihar”(Rajya (Bihar) mein NRC lagu karne ka to sawal hi paida nahi hota hai), he said addressing a special session of the Bihar Assembly here on January 13. The session was called for a constitutional amendment for extending quotas to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes by another 10 years in the state, which was unanimously approved.
Nitish Kumar made this statement this after opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Lenninist) members staged a protest against CAA-NRC outside the the Assembly, minutes before the special session. Bihar Opposition leader, Tejashwi Yadav, in his address in the House demanded that Nitish Kumar make his stand clear on the issue of CAA and NRC in the state.
In his address, Kumar said when the Central government was headed by Congress leader, Rajiv Gandhi, the issue of NRC was first discussed, but only in the context of Assam. NRC was an exercise confined to Assam as part of the accord signed by the Rajiv Gandhi government. ”The nationwide implementation of NRC is needless and has no justification. We do not think any such thing is going to take place”
On December 20, Kumar, in a reference to NRC for the first time, had said something that was not clear .”Kaahe ka NRC? Bilkul laagu nahi hoga (What NRC? It will not be implemented) .
However, for now Nitish Kumar, a seasoned politician and an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, has tried to downplay the ongoing widespread protests by millions of people across the country and the opposition’s aggressive stand against the CAA and NRC. He, therefore, refused to say anything on the protests.
It may be recalled that JD-U had voted in favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) in both Houses of Parliament. It is a different matter that JD-U vice president Prashant Kishor had publicly opposed the party’s support to CAB and termed NRC as equivalent to “demonetisation of citizenship”, saying the biggest sufferers would be the poor and the marginalised.
The Left parties, including CPI,CPI (M) and CPI (ML), on Monday in a joint press meet demanded that the Bihar Assembly should pass a resolution against CAA-NRC-NPR on the lines of the Kerala Assembly.
The Left parties have announced a state-wide human chain on January 25 and will stage a satyagarah at all district headquarters on January 30 against CAA-NRC-NPR.
Meanwhile, peaceful protests against CAA and NRC continue in Bihar. The state has till now witnessed two shutdowns—first by the Left parties supported by the other Opposition parties on December 19 and again on December 21 by the Rashtriya Janata Dal, once again backed by all Opposition and Left parties.
In a reply to opposition RJD demand of caste-based census, Kumar said ”Caste-based census should be conducted”.
Kumar also said there should be a discussion and debate on National Population Register (NPR) in the House as several new things had been added to it now.