Janata Dal (United) vice president and political strategist Prashant Kishor on Monday said only Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar could explain the circumstances under which his party supported the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament.
In yet another attack at his party over voting for the new law, Kishor said: “I want to make it very clear that JD(U)'s stance on NRC and CAA is of opposition. Check parliamentary standing committee's record, first dissent note is of JD(U). Under what circumstances JD(U) supported the bill in both houses only Nitish Kumar ji can tell.”
He added, "When you link CAA with NRC, it becomes discriminatory not only on the basis of religion but also on the basis of class.”
Kishor also said the NRC should not happen at all. "When NRC happens, crores of people, especially the poor if they could not produce required documents, they will face hardship to prove that they and their forefathers are citizens of this country, they will face a loss of income and logistical challenges. This will be a big problem for the poor. So, NRC should not happen at all and this has been JD(U)'s stance. Nitish Kumar ji has said that there will be no NRC," Kishor said.
The strategist also questioned Congress president Sonia Gandhi's "silence" over the NRC. "If the Congress president gives one statement (on the NRC), it will bring clarity. Taking part in dharnas, demonstrations, that is all legitimate and valid, but why there is not even a single official statement coming from the Congress president on the issue is something beyond my understanding," he said.
"More than 10 chief ministers, including the ones in the Congress, have said they will not allow NRC in their states. In other regional parties like those led by Nitish Kumar, Naveen Babu, Mamata didi or Jagan Mohan Reddy, the chief ministers are serving as the head of the parties. In the case of the Congress, the chief ministers are not the final decision-makers, and the CWC is the highest decision-making body," Kishor said.
He added, "My question and concern are why is that the Congress president hasn't said officially that the NRC will not be allowed in Congress-ruled states?”
He also blamed the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for not amending the law when it had an opportunity.
"The CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) was created back in 2003. From 2004 to 2014, the Congress government was in power. If the law was so unconstitutional, which is a fact, the Congress had an opportunity to amend it," Kishor said.
Talking about the future of the BJP and JD(U) alliance, Kishor said there were no issues between the partners. He also dwelled on BJP’s recent poll drubbing in Jharkhand elections.
Kishor said, "Every election is unique in its own, Lok Sabha was different, state elections are different. There is no pattern linked to different elections, it is a theoretical exercise which you can talk about, you may try to establish the link but every election is different, fought on different faces, different issues, you cannot link. Jharkhand election is different and Bihar is different.
“An alliance between JD(U) and BJP is going on, there are no issues."
Kishor, who is one of the founder members of political strategy firm IPAC, said him working with JD(U) and advising IPAC is not an ideal situation but it has no conflict of interest.
He said, "There are two things. I am not in the government of Bihar and as far as my other work is concerned, it is in public domain that IPAC is an organisation that was started a few years ago. They work with different political parties.
“IPAC is not my personal property. This a platform for youngsters which provides an opportunity to do work with political campaign and leaders without joining a political party.”