BJP, JD(U) heading for showdown over NPR?

BJP, JD(U) heading for showdown over NPR?

Shortly after Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said that the National Population Register (NPR) update in Bihar will be carried out between May 15 and 28, the JD (U) termed it as Modi’s “personal view.” (PTI photo)

The two ruling alliance partners in Bihar – the JD (U) and the BJP – are apparently heading for a showdown over the contentious issue of National Population Register (NPR).

Shortly after Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said that the National Population Register (NPR) update in Bihar will be carried out between May 15 and 28, the JD (U) termed it as Modi’s “personal view.”

“Any decision on NPR will be announced by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as he is the only competent authority to do so,” said JD (U) national general secretary and Industries Minister in Nitish’s Cabinet, Shyam Razak. 

“The Bihar Government has so far not taken any decision over NPR. Till the Nitish regime takes a final call, how can someone announce the dates for NPR update,” wondered Razak, a key Nitish’s aide. 

Sushil Modi, who is a senior BJP leader and also Finance Minister of Bihar, had said on Saturday that all Chief Ministers of the States would have to implement Citizen Amendment Act (CAA) and NPR. “These are constitutional obligations and no State Government can refuse it,” said Modi, challenging West Bengal Mamata Banerjee and Kerala CM, P Vijayan. In the same vein, the Deputy CM added that the exercise to update NPR in Bihar would start on May 18 and end on May 28.

It was then that an alarmed JD (U) raised a red flag. While Razak was the most vocal to oppose Modi’s proposal on NPR, former Rajya Sabha member and senior JD (U) leader Pavan Verma wrote to Nitish asking him to issue a clear-cut statement on the issue of CAA and NRC. “A clear cut public statement by you to this effect would be a major step towards preserving and strengthening the idea of India to which, I know, you yourself, are committed,” the letter to Bihar CM, who is also the national president of the JD (U), said.

This is the second instance in the last one week when BJP and the JD (U) are at loggerheads. JD (U) national vice-president Prashant Kishor, who has been consistently opposing Centre’s CAA, NRC and NPR tooth and nail, had earlier termed Sushil Modi’s elevation as “Deputy CM due to 'circumstances', even though the BJP had lost the 2015 poll battle.”

Modi had hit back at Nitish’s aide saying, “those who remain busy collating datas and coining slogans should not give statements which are against the coalition dharma.”  

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