National Population Register order divides Bihar ruling allies

JD(U) leaders pan Sushil Modi

Updated - January 05, 2020 10:56 pm IST

Published - January 05, 2020 10:17 pm IST - Patna

Pawan K. Verma.

Pawan K. Verma.

The Bihar government on December 18 issued the notification to begin the first phase of the National Population Register (NPR) exercise from May 15 to June 28, much before Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi announced it on Saturday.

On Sunday, Janata Dal(U) national general secretary and spokesperson Pawan K. Verma wrote a two-page letter to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and expressed “surprise” over Mr. Modi’s “unilateral” announcement.

Earlier, on Saturday, Mr. Modi, while making the announcement, said “no government has the courage to stop the NPR exercise in their respective States”.

However, soon after Mr. Modi’s announcement, senior JD(U) leader and his Cabinet colleague Shyam Rajak said he had no information about any such decision and “Mr. Modi may have made such an announcement in his personal capacity.”

‘Principled stand’

In his letter, Mr. Verma asked the Chief Minister to take a “principled stand” against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the NPR.

“Reject the nefarious agenda to divide India and create a great deal of unnecessary social turbulence,” wrote Mr. Verma, adding that “the CAA-NRC combine is a direct attempt to divide Hindus and Muslims and to create social instability. You have always stood for a secular India, where there is peace, respect and goodwill among all its communities.”

But, JD(U) leader and party spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan told journalists in Patna, “The Bihar government has categorically said that it will not implement NRC in the State but since Union Home Minister Amit Shah has stated that NPR data won’t be used for the NRC, the JD(U) doesn’t have a problem with the NPR exercise in Bihar.”

Other JD(U) leaders too said the government had taken the decision to begin the NPR process from May 15 and “now there should not be any further discussion on it.”

Meanwhile, State BJP leaders like Mr. Modi and State party president Sanjay Jaiswal on Sunday began the Jan Jagran Abhiyan (awareness campaign) about the CAA in Patna and West Champaran. They visited households in those areas and briefed residents about the Act.

Party sources also told The Hindu that Mr. Shah is likely to visit Vaishali on January 16 to address people about the CAA.

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