Why Nitish Kumar Is Backing Citizenship Bill Despite Dissent Within Party

Janata Dal United president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has signalled his party will support the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill as it goes to the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Why Nitish Kumar Is Backing Citizenship Bill Despite Dissent Within Party

Citizenship Bill: Nitish Kumar has ignored dissent from leaders like Prashant Kishor.

Patna: Despite the open displeasure shown by two leaders of the Janata Dal United (JDU) - Prashant Kishor and Pavan Verma - the BJP has no reason to worry about the ally pulling its support from the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or the CAB in the Rajya Sabha. Janata Dal United president and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has signalled his party will continue support to controversial bill as it goes to the upper house on Wednesday. Sources close to Mr Kumar say the JDU will back the controversial bill for a number of reasons.

Here are 10 reasons why Nitish Kumar will keep backing CAB in Rajya Sabha:

  1. Nitish Kumar's supporters say Prashant Kishor, who tweeted on Monday expressing disappointment with his own party, and Pavan Verma, who gave a similar statement, are just "media tigers". Neither of them have contested a single election in their career and do not hold much sway over Mr Kumar. "In fact, with their statements they have paved the way for their own omission from next officebearers' list which will be announced soon," sources said.

  2. Unlike the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 of the constitution, for which the bill was moved abruptly without much discussion, this time Union Home Minister Amit Shah held talks with allies such as Mr Kumar beforehand, sources said.

  3. Sources close to the Bihar Chief Minister also say that he believes that unlike the widespread protests over Article 370, there is hardly any nationwide anger or mass protest barring few areas of northeast over the CAB.

  4. Nitish Kumar is also known to have told his supporters that when he spoke to his leaders in the northeast, they did not express any opposition to the bill.

  5. According to his supporters, though the JDU chief is aware that his stand on CAB may cost him Muslim votes, he reckons that he was never the first choice of Muslim voters anyway and even without the big Muslim-Yadava voting group, his base is wide enough to take the hit.

  6. After last month's announcement by BJP chief Amit Shah that next year's assembly elections in Bihar will be fought under Nitish Kumar's leadership, supporting the Citizenship Bill was a reciprocation of the outreach, sources said.

  7. After his opposition to scrap provisions of Article 370 and the Triple Talaq Bill, Nitish Kumar had received feedback that a section of his core voters, including the backward classes and Mahadalits, were not happy with his move. This time the JDU chief wanted to take a move they would appease them, sources said.

  8. Many believe that Nitish Kumar wants to dump Prashant Kishor and Pavan Verma, who are frequently critical of the BJP, thus often creating embarrassing situations for the JDU chief. Backing the CAB may give him a chance to provoke them and force them to think of parting ways by themselves, sources said.

  9. Sources also attribute Nitish Kumar's support to the CAB to the fact that he wants to remain Chief Minister of Bihar and is keen on having BJP as a partner. Unlike Lalu Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) which had tried to become the big brother in their short-lived alliance, Nitish Kumar has rarely faced any problems in running his government as BJP minsters do not interfere in his work.

  10. Nitish Kumar does not have any national ambitions and he does not want to attach too much importance to ideology which might disturb his rattle in Bihar, sources said.



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