Nitish speaks up, says there will be no NRC in Bihar

CM Speaks For 1st Time Since His Party’s Nod To CAA In Parl

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Amid increasing protests, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar on Friday said the National Register of Citizens (NRC) process would not be implemented in the state.

“Kaahe ko NRC lagu hoga? Bilkul nahin lagu hoga (For what purpose will NRC be implemented? It will not be implemented at all),” Kumar tersely told mediapersons.

Bihar is the eighth state to have opposed NRC, which opposition parties and others have dubbed an anti-Muslim exercise as well as one which, it is alleged, would create problems for the underprivileged who may not fulfil the requirements to prove their Indian citizenship.

This was the first time that Nitish spoke on the issue after his JD(U) supported the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament despite opposition from some senior party functionaries.

Seven non-BJP states —Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, West Bengal, Odisha and Rajasthan — have already ruled out being party to the Centre’s NRC plan. Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh is sure to follow suit. Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, who depends on the support of NCP, a strong NRC opponent, and Congress, has refrained from spelling out his government’s stance on the desirability and identification of citizens, a theme it had earlier championed.

The opposition of Kumar, who runs a coalition with BJP’s support, can discomfit politically also, raising hurdles for any campaign against NRC detractors.

However, Nitish Kumar’s stand did not come as a surprise. His fluctuating ties with BJP notwithstanding, the JD(U) boss has been unwilling to vacate the “secular” space to his principal rival Lalu Prasad in a state where Muslims account for roughly 14% of the electorate. His statement ruling out support for NRC came two days before a bandh called by RJD and other opposition parties. Influential bodies of Muslim clerics, like Imrat-e-Sharia, which he continues to court, have vowed to oppose the citizenship act and NRC.