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Home / India News / NRC, CAA cannot be implemented unless state govts cooperate: Prashant Kishor

NRC, CAA cannot be implemented unless state govts cooperate: Prashant Kishor

JDU is part of the NDA but if you look at the history, there are key issues in which the JDU and the BJP have completely different positions, said Kishor.

india Updated: Dec 20, 2019, 16:14 IST
Sunetra Choudhury
Sunetra Choudhury
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
JDU’s Kishor has a different take on the CAA-NRC debate.
JDU’s Kishor has a different take on the CAA-NRC debate. (ANI)

Political strategist and Janata Dal (United) leader Prashant Kishor spoke to Sunetra Choudhury about his opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and a pan-India National Register of Citizens, and why all leaders of his party do not appear to be on the same page. Edited excerpts:

You have been tweeting against CAA and NRC. What does your party think about your position?

I don’t know what they think, but party has voted for this and my stance is out in public domain. I think it is not the right thing for the country, and all right-minded Indians should oppose the combination of CAA and NRC

JDU is a key part of the BJP-led NDA. Has CM Nitish Kumar spoken to you about this?

Yes, the JDU is part of the NDA but if you look at the history, there are key issues in which the JDU and the BJP have completely different positions. I don’t see a problem on that count...It is a completely different thing to support a position which is not ideologically consistent with what you’d like to support or something that could lay the foundation of discrimination.

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You tweeted that opposition parties have to take a stand against NRC, and now it is up to other CMs. We’ve seen Naveen Patnaik take a stand, but we haven’t seen your CM do it?

The BJP, to my mind, is within its democratic rights to implement CAA and NRC because this has been part of their stated position, and was in their manifesto when people have voted for them. While this is true, this agenda has got 39% votes, which gives them the biggest majority. But 61% people did not vote for that agenda. Who represents those 61% people? The combined Opposition. So as much as BJP has the right to push their agenda, this combined opposition has the equal right. In 16 states, we have non-BJP CMs. These states account for 65% of the Indian population, and I’m of the firm opinion that NRC and CAA cannot be implemented unless state governments cooperate.

 

But CAA has nothing to do with states?

How are you going to execute either NRC or CAA without the machinery of the state government? We have seen NRC being done in Assam, where the whole state was working day and night for three years to produce what anyway many, including the BJP, are calling flawed. What means does the Central government have if a state government says it will not allow NRC? Some people say the Centre can take legal action. Does that mean it will takes states to court? Some are saying they will use Section 356 to dismiss the government. Assume for a minute, the central government is so determined, what happens after six months when there are again elections? If the same government gets elected, are we going to go on dismissing the governments repeatedly? So, practically, it is not possible unless states are on board.

You still haven’t clearly said what Nitish Kumar’s position is.

My leader has clearly said it in the past and he has reassured me that we do not see the need for NRC in Bihar.

Isn’t it hypocritical of your party then to vote for CAA in Parliament, especially when you say NRC and CAA  are linked?

I wouldn’t call it hypocritical. It is their understanding of CAA where probably they didn’t necessarily see it as entangled as it is, in my mind, to NRC.

You have been tweeting against CAA and NRC. What does your party think about your position?

I don’t know what they think, but party has voted for this and my stance is out in public domain. I think it is not the right thing for the country, and all right-minded Indians should oppose the combination of CAA and NRC.

JDU is a key part of the BJP-led NDA. Has CM Nitish Kumar spoken to you about this?

Yes, the JDU is part of the NDA but if you look at the history, there are key issues in which the JDU and the BJP have completely different positions. I don’t see a problem on that count...It is a completely different thing to support a position which is not ideologically consistent with what you’d like to support or something that could lay the foundation of discrimination.

You tweeted that opposition parties have to take a stand against NRC, and now it is up to other CMs. We’ve seen Naveen Patnaik take a stand, but we haven’t seen your CM do it?

The BJP, to my mind, is within its democratic rights to implement CAA and NRC because this has been part of their stated position, and was in their manifesto when people have voted for them. While this is true, this agenda has got 39% votes, which gives them the biggest majority. But 61% people did not vote for that agenda. Who represents those 61% people? The combined Opposition. So as much as BJP has the right to push their agenda, this combined opposition has the equal right. In 16 states, we have non-BJP CMs. These states account for 65% of the Indian population, and I’m of the firm opinion that NRC and CAA cannot be implemented unless state governments cooperate.

But CAA has nothing to do with states?

How are you going to execute either NRC or CAA without the machinery of the state government? We have seen NRC being done in Assam, where the whole state was working day and night for three years to produce what anyway many, including the BJP, are calling flawed. What means does the Central government have if a state government says it will not allow NRC? Some people say the Centre can take legal action. Does that mean it will takes states to court? Some are saying they will use Section 356 to dismiss the government. Assume for a minute, the central government is so determined, what happens after six months when there are again elections? If the same government gets elected, are we going to go on dismissing the governments repeatedly? So, practically, it is not possible unless states are on board.

You still haven’t clearly said what Nitish Kumar’s position is.

My leader has clearly said it in the past and he has reassured me that we do not see the need for NRC in Bihar.

Isn’t it hypocritical of your party then to vote for CAA in Parliament, especially when you say NRC and CAA  are linked?

I wouldn’t call it hypocritical. It is their understanding of CAA where probably they didn’t necessarily see it as entangled as it is, in my mind, to NRC.

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