Inducted Prashant Kishor on Amit Shah’s insistence: Nitish Kumar

Inducted Prashant Kishor on Amit Shah’s insistence: Nitish Kumar

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with Prashant Kishor. File photo

Patna, January 28

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday gave a cryptic reply when asked about party leader Prashant Kishor’s collaboration with the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi Assembly elections.

When asked if Kishor’s collaboration with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi, where JD(U) is also contesting in alliance with the BJP, would affect the NDA, Kumar came out with a cryptic reply.

“He has links with many people. I have said it earlier, we inducted him into the party at the instance of Amit Shah,” Kumar said.

The chief minister said his JD(U) will urge the BJP government at the Centre to drop columns pertaining to birth places of parents in the National Population Register form, since it has led to “apprehensions” among many who were not aware of the details.

Kumar, who is the JD(U)’s national president and has been running a coalition government in the state with the BJP, said leaders of his party “in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha” will make a request to the government to this effect “even though it is not mandatory to fill up these columns”.

The chief minister was talking to reporters at his official residence here after presiding over a meeting of JD(U) parliamentarians, legislators and office-bearers of the party’s Bihar unit, even though disgruntled top leaders like national vice president Prashant Kishor and national general secretary Pavan Varma remained conspicuous by their absence.

Kumar also acknowledged that the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act had led to “unrest” across the country but hoped the misgivings would be addressed by the Supreme Court, which is hearing petitions challenging the contentious legislation.

He, however, voiced disapproval of the inflammatory comments made by Sharjeel Imam, who was arrested in Jehanabad in connection with a sedition case in Delhi, and pointed out “whoever transgresses law, will face action accordingly. Talks of disintegration of the country are never acceptable”.

“It is the job of the police to help law enforcement agencies elsewhere in their investigation. The local police (in Jehanabad) have therefore been helping the Delhi Police. Whoever commits wrong in the eyes of the law will face arrest and tried before a court of law,” Kumar insisted.

He also stated that unrest over the contentious legislation had been going on for quite some time and there was now a need for “normalising the situation”.

In an apparent reference to many state governments coming out with resolutions in respective legislatures against the CAA, Kumar — whose party had voted in favor of the Bill when it was tabled in Parliament — pointed out “the matter comes under the jurisdiction of the Centre. Only the Supreme Court can take any action to address the issues”.              

Iterating his opposition to nationwide NRC, the Bihar CM noted with satisfaction “the prime minister, too, has clarified that such a move is not in the offing”.

“As regards NPR, it must be kept in mind that the exercise has been conducted previously. Of course, there are misgivings about columns asking people to disclose the places of birth of their parents since most citizens might not be aware of the same.

“Our leaders in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will urge (the government) to drop these columns, if possible,” he said. 

Prashant Kishor hits back

Election strategist-turned-politician Prashant Kishor on Tuesday revolted against Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, charging him with having “lied” about his induction into the party and questioning if it was tantamount to admitting capitulation before the Bharatiya Janata Party.

In his first direct attack on the Janata Dal (United) national president, Kishor, who joined the party in September 2018 and was elevated to the rank of its national vice-president just weeks later, lashed out at Kumar for saying that he was inducted into the party at the instance of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, then BJP chief.

Kumar had made the comment earlier in the day in response to queries by scribes about the attack by Kishor on Twitter against Shah and its possible impact on the JD (U)’s alliance with the BJP as also his working for Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi where the NDA partners are contesting the February 8 assembly polls together.

“Nitish Kumar what a fall for you to lie about how and why you made me join JDU!! Poor attempt on your part to try and make my colour same as yours! And if you are telling the truth who would believe that you still have courage not to listen to someone recommended by Amit Shah,” he wrote on microblogging site Twitter.

There was no immediate reaction from leaders of the JD (U), who were stunned by Kishor’s action. --- PTI

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