Prashant Kishor pushes envelope on citizenship law with new tweet
The law is to give citizenship to people who have escaped persecution in neighbouring countries, not take it away from those who have it, Shah told the Rajya Sabha during the debate on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.Updated: Dec 12, 2019 15:12 IST
Prashant Kishor, the national vice president of Nitish Kumar’s party Janata Dal United who has been giving pinpricks to his party over its new stand on the citizenship law, went a step further on Thursday. Kishor contested the stand taken by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA coalition’s stand on the law and stressed that this law, combined with the citizens’ register, could be turned into a “lethal combo”.
“We are told that #CAB is bill to grant citizenship and not to take it from anyone,” Kishor tweeted on Thursday, a reference to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s insistence in Parliament that Muslims in India did not need to be worried on account of this law.
The law is to give citizenship to people who have escaped persecution in neighbouring countries, not take it away from those who have it, Shah told the Rajya Sabha during the debate on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that grants citizenship to religious minorities from three Muslim-majority countries in India’s neighbourhood.
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Prashant Kishor delivered his counter. “But the truth is together with #NRC, it could turn into a lethal combo in the hands of Government to systematically discriminate and even prosecute people based on religion,” Kishor, who was Nitish Kumar’s election strategist for the 2015 state elections, tweeted.
It is a concern that has been expressed by many opposition leaders, who recalled BJP’s pitch during elections in Bengal. Top BJP leaders assured Hindu migrants from Bangladesh that changes in the citizenship law would protect them from action when the National Register of Citizens project is rolled out nationwide.
The changes in the citizenship law were proposed by the NDA government in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first term in 2015. Nitish Kumar’s party, which had spoken out against granting citizenship on grounds of religious persecution on non-Muslims, had criticised the move on previous occasions. This time, the party tweaked its stand but Kishor hasn’t.
This isn’t the first time that the JDU leader, who has a day job as a political strategist, has taken a stand that doesn’t mirror the one adopted by his party. But Nitish Kumar has taken a liberal view of his remarks in the past.
JDU leaders have interpreted his tweet attacks to indicate his future plans outside the party. Prashant Kishor’s team is already working with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in Bengal and was associated with YSR Congress chief Jagan Reddy’s campaign.