Citizenship Bill: Discord in JDU over support
Two prominent JDU leaders have come out against party chief and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s decision to support the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha, reflecting a divide in the party over the contentious issue before the bill is taken up by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
JDU sources said Nitish had initially decided to oppose the bill but changed his stand after a call from BJP chief and Union home minister Amit Shah. The JDU had in the past chosen not to back the BJP on contentious issues like Article 370 and instant triple talaq.
Party general secretary Pavan K. Varma and vice-president Prashant Kishor voiced disappointment over the JDU backing the bill in the lower House and Varma went on to urge Nitish to change tack in the Rajya Sabha.
“I urge Nitish Kumar to reconsider support to the #CAB in the Rajya Sabha. The bill is unconstitutional, discriminatory and against the unity and harmony of the country, apart from being against the secular principles of the JDU. Gandhiji would have strongly disapproved of it,” Varma tweeted on Tuesday.
Earlier, Kishor, credited with masterminding the JDU’s election strategy, had voiced similar sentiments on Monday night.
“Disappointed to see JDU supporting #CAB that discriminates right of citizenship on the basis of religion,” Kishor, who is currently driving the Trinamul Congress’s Bengal poll strategy for 2021, tweeted.
“It’s incongruous with the party’s constitution that carries the word secular thrice on the very first page and the leadership that is supposedly guided by Gandhian ideals,” Kishor added.
Though most JDU MPs refrained from speaking on record on the issue, they made it clear the party’s stand would remain the same in the Rajya Sabha. “The two leaders who have spoken don’t matter much. They hardly have any following on the ground. The decision to support the bill has been taken at the top level and it will not change,” a JDU MP said.
The JDU’s House leader, Rajiv Ranjan alias Lallan Singh, had on Monday spoken on the CAB and declared support, saying it in no way tinkered with secularism. Singh said they had reservations regarding the north-eastern states and once the government addressed those issues, they decided to support the bill.