JD(U) likely to support CAB in Rajya Sabha, leaders blame CM for confusion

Hours after JDU decided to support Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, two of its office bearers — Prashant Kishor and Pavan K Verma — have come out in open against their party’s stand on the Bill

Written by December 10, 2019 21:15

New Delhi: Despite opposition by two of its office-bearers, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar led Janata Dal-United (JDU) is likely to support the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, said a senior party leader.

Hours after the JDU decided to support the Central government on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, two of its office bearers — Prashant Kishor and Pavan K Verma — have come out in open against their party’s stand on the Bill, which has been passed in the Lok Sabha and created confusion over the party’s support to the Bill.

Rajya Sabha

Many in the party, however, have dismissed the protest by these two as ‘individual opinions’ while maintaining that the matter could have been discussed within the party rather than going public with their views.

While JDU MPs believe that the party is in all likelihood going to back the Central government on the Bill, there was also a sense of distrust among a few.

“It would have been better had Nitishji called the meeting of party leaders and briefed us on the changed stand on the CAB. Lack of communication has created this confusion and rift within the ranks,” said a senior JDU leader.

A senior said the party has a presence in states like Arunachal Pradesh and the supporting CAB could hurt its prospects in the north-east.

“We have a considerable number of MLAs in Arunachal. We are working to have our roots in Manipur as well. Our party has constituted a committee that looked into the CAB and its impact on north-east states. We, then, believed the CAB would hurt the north-east and clauses should be reconsidered,” stated a senior party leader.

PRASHANT KISHOR

Most of the JDU leaders, while keeping their ‘individual opinions’ to themselves about party’s stand on the CAB, will toe the party’s line on the Bill passed by the Lok Sabha on Monday, a senior party leader said.

JDU MP Chandeshwar Prasad believes that the Bill isn’t anti-minority as being propagated by the opposition and hence the support.

“Is there any line in the Bill that says that it is anti-Muslim? Many who are opposing it have not even read the Bill,” said Prasad.

Another JDU MP Dileshwar Kamath said the MPs will abide by the party’s stand on the Bill which the party is supporting till now.

JDU has six MPs in Rajya Sabha.

The BJP will require all the support it could gather as it is in minority in the Upper House of Parliament.

The protest by the party’s office-bearers on the CAB is considered significant as the Shiv Sena after having supported the CAB in the Lok Sabha has said that it is reconsidering its stand on the Bill.

The JDU’s support to the Bill assumes importance as Bihar is set to go to polls next year and the BJP has iterated its stand that the party would go to polls under the leadership of Nitish Kumar.

Verma and Kishor have alleged the party’s stand on the CAB is against the constitution of the party.

The root of the confusion over the CAB within the party lies in the resolution passed by its national executive on July 8, 2018, in which the party had called the CAB “a clear threat to indigenous languages and culture of Assam.”

A senior party leader quoted the resolution while iterating the party’s stand on the CAB.

“The Janata Dal (United) demands that the Government of India must give serious consideration to all the contentious issues with regard to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and mitigate the concerns of the people of Assam … It is apprehended that if the Bill becomes the law, the indigenous people of Assam will be reduced to a minority in their own home state. The Bill is a clear threat to indigenous languages and cultures of Assam,” the July 8, 2018 resolution of JDU on the CAB stated.

The resolution broadly says that as AASU fears the loss of its indigenous culture, JDU would want the government to reconsider the contentious issues.

Chief-Minister-Nitish-Kumar

The concerns of the JDU were addressed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who had categorically stated that Assam will be protected under the Inner Line Permit and the CAB will not have much effect on the demographics of the region. (ANI)