Nitish Kumar attempted to allay fears that the new citizenship law would be used against minorities and even “guaranteed” that minorities didn’t need to worry as long as he was around. Later he also indicated that he wouldn’t support the citizens register in Bihar.(PTI)
Nitish Kumar attempted to allay fears that the new citizenship law would be used against minorities and even “guaranteed” that minorities didn’t need to worry as long as he was around. Later he also indicated that he wouldn’t support the citizens register in Bihar.(PTI)

JDU minority cell leader quits party over Nitish Kumar’s stand on CAA

Shahid, who was the general secretary of the party’s minority cell, is the first leader to exit from the party over the amended citizenship law.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Patna
UPDATED ON DEC 27, 2019 08:53 PM IST

The simmering discontent in Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United over the party’s support to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) claimed its first casualty on Friday when the party’s minority cell general secretary Khawaja Shahid resigned from the party.

Shahid, who was the general secretary of the party’s minority cell, is the first leader to exit from the party over the amended citizenship law.

The resignation comes days after chief minister Nitish Kumar attempted to allay fears that the new citizenship law would be used against minorities and even “guaranteed” that minorities didn’t need to worry as long as he was around. Later he also indicated that he wouldn’t support the citizens register in Bihar.

The amended citizenship law lets the government to grant citizenship to minorities of six religions from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Many of the law’s critics, including the ones in Nitish Kumar’s party, have called the law “unconstitutional and discriminatory”. Poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who is also the JDU vice president, had earlier underscored how the citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens project could turn into a lethal combo.

As Khawaja Shahid walked out of the JDU, he also joined the chorus.

Nitish Kumar was his target.

“The decision of chief minister Nitish Kumar was against the party’s constitution which supported secularism. I am peeved at his decision to support the Act,” said Shahid, who hails from Katihar district.

He also declared that his exit would be followed by resignations of many other active members of the party.

JDU leaders, including party spokesperson refused to comment on the development.

It is still not clear if Khawaja Shahid’s exit is a one-off case.

Prashant Kishor was the first in the JDU to speak out against the law much before the Rajya Sabha had voted for the change. But he was soon supported by the party’s national spokesperson Pawan Varma and member of legislative council Gulam Rasool Balyawi.

Some JDU MLAs from the Seemanchal region had also raised their voice against the party’s support to the Act. “For us people are more important than party and we’ll fight against the draconian Act (CAA) and NRC” Kochadhaman JD-U MLA Mujahid Alkam said at a public meeting.

JDU lawmaker from Thakurganj Naushad Alam appreciated Nitish Kumar’s statement that the NRC would not be enforced in Bihar but underlined: “Here people have started demanding a clear stand from chief minister on CAA.”

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