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CAA-NRC: Nitish Kumar's Tough Stance Ahead Of Bihar Assembly Elections Signals Shift

CAA-NRC: Nitish Kumar
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In saying 'no' to National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Bihar, chief Nitish Kumar is signalling a clear shift in Bihar politics with elections to the...

In saying 'no' to National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Bihar, chief Nitish Kumar is signalling a clear shift in Bihar politics with elections to the state assembly a few months away. The Janata Dal (United) (JD-U) chief also called for a nationwide debate on Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

The NDA ally seems to be calculating the risks in going ahead with its senior partner, BJP, all the way on the CAA-NRC in election year. With a lot at stake for the JD-U, Nitish may even decide to rethink his tie-up with the BJP, in order to retain his voter base, especially after having cultivated diverse groups carefully in the run-up to the elections.

Nitish Kumar, on January 13, asserted in the Bihar assembly that the proposed NRC would not be implemented in the state. In calling for a debate to issues related to CAA, the Bihar chief minister appears to toughen his stand on the issue. Significantly, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is scheduled to hold a public meeting in Vaishali district of Bihar today, to create awareness on CAA and related issues.

On the issue of National Population Register (NPR), the Bihar chief minister reiterated what some senior Congress leaders had been saying for a while—that questions which were not there in the 2010 NPR are now being asked.

Earlier, there was a war of words between election strategist and JD-U leader, Prashant Kishor and BJP leader and deputy chief minister of Bihar, Sushil Kumar Modi. Kishor's call for a higher share of seats to JD-U as the alliance began gearing up for polls, riled the BJP leader who called him a mere data collection expert who was not authorised to speak on the issue.

Prashant Kishor upped the ante a few days ago hailing the Congress' stance on CAA. He also said that the NRC would not be implemented in Bihar days ahead of the JD-U chief endorsing his statement in the state assembly.

From the way things are playing out, it does appear that winds of change are blowing in Bihar months ahead of assembly elections. It all hinges on which direction the protests move and the resultant government measures on this contentious Act.

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