Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Friday asserted that National Register for Citizens will not be implemented in the state, putting to rest speculations raised by the JD(U)’s support to the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Kumar made this clear in a terse reply to queries from journalists who had sought his response on the proposed country-wide implementation of NRC, including Bihar, as stated by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the floor of the Parliament.
"Kaahe ka NRC? Bilkul laagu nahin hoga (NRC, what for? Will not at all be implemented),” Kumar quipped as he sauntered towards his vehicle, waving at the media persons who had been waiting outside an auditorium in Patna seeking to know the stand of the Chief Minister who was at the venue to address the 80th annual session of Indian Road Congress.
Notably, Kumar becomes the first chief minister from the NDA camp to have voiced disapproval of the proposed move to have an all India NRC which has triggered country-wide tension and protests.
Kumar is heading a coalition government with the BJP in Bihar. His party voted in favour of the legislation in parliament.
In the recent past, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her counterparts in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, Naveen Patnaik and Jaganmohan Reddy respectively besides those in Congress-ruled states have spoken out against the proposed move which parties opposed to the BJP view as a move to polarize voters by triggering fears of disenfranchisement of Muslims.
Kumar, on his part, has been opposed to the NRC since the days when it was implemented only in Assam upon a Supreme Court order.
Known for choosing and timing his words after much deliberation, Kumar came out with his assertion on NRC a day after he had made it clear at a public meeting in Gaya that he would "guarantee" that under his watch the minorities were not treated unfairly.
His averments could be seen as a gesture aimed at, simultaneously, assuring elements within the JD(U) headed by him who apprehend the party losing out on its Muslim base after supporting the Citizenship Bill as well as detractors most notably RJD of arch rival Lalu Prasad who have sharpened their attacks on the chief minister in the wake of the recent developments.