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Polarisation over CAA, NPR : Big jolt to BJP; Congress flops

Polarisation over CAA, NPR : Big jolt to BJP; Congress flops
Highlights

  • It’s official: No CAA, NPR in Maharastra and Bihar
  • TMC, BSP, Sena, AAP, skip Sonia-led Oppn meet

New Delhi/Patna/ Kolkata: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said he was open to a debate on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in the Assembly, signaling, for the first time, his reservations on the controversial law that his party Janata Dal (United) supported in Parliament. JD(U) is an ally of NDA at the Centre.

On the National Register of Citizenship (NRC), Nitish said that there was "no question" of or need for implementing it in Bihar.

While Nitish Kumar had ruled out the NRC in his state earlier, this is the first time he emphasised it in the State assembly, making it official.

The Chief Minister broke his month-long silence on the CAA protests after Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)'s Tejashwi Yadav attacked the religion-based citizenship law in the special one-day session of the Bihar assembly called to ratify a quota measure.

"There should be a debate on CAA. If people want, then there will be a discussion in this house," the Chief Minister told the house.

After giving the Opposition meet called by Congress to discuss the issues of CAA and NPR a miss, the Shiv Sena declared that CAA in its current form would not be implemented in Maharashtra.

Opposition parties, led by the Congress, demanded on Monday that the amended Citizenship Act should be withdrawn and the process of NPR immediately stopped, asserting that it was all part of an "unconstitutional package" that targeted poor people, SC/STs and minorities.

In a blistering attack on PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress president Sonia Gandhi accused them of misleading people on the amended Citizenship Act and the NRC, and claimed that their government stands totally exposed for its inability to govern and provide security to people.

The assertion was made after a meeting of the Opposition, convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, during which the leaders of 20 parties deliberated on the current political situation in the country, following widespread protests against the amended Citizenship Act and the violence on campuses.

Significantly, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) stayed away from the meeting.

"The CAA, NPR and NRC is a package that is unconstitutional, which specifically targets the poor, the downtrodden, the SC/STs and the linguistic and religious minorities," the resolution adopted by the parties said.

"The NPR is the basis for the NRC. We demand the withdrawal of the CAA and the immediate stoppage of the nationwide NRC/NPR," it added.

Those chief ministers who have announced that they will not implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in their states must consider to suspend the National Population Register (NPR) enumeration also as it is a prelude to the NRC, it said.

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