"Perplexed": Party Leader Calls Out Nitish Kumar On Delhi Tie-Up With BJP

Delhi Elections 2020: On Monday, the Akali Dal, the BJP's Punjab ally, had refused to tie up with the party in Delhi citing its reservations over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAA.

Nitish Kumar's JDU is fighting Delhi polls with the BJP, Union Minister Amit Shah said last week. (File)

Highlights

  • Looking for "ideological clarity", Pavan K Varma said in a letter
  • He called "CAA-NPR-NRC scheme" divisive in his letter
  • He referred to Mr Kumar's call for "RSS-mukt bharat (RSS-free India)"
Patna/ New Delhi:

A senior leader of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United has confronted him over the party's alliance with the BJP for the Delhi election. In a letter to Nitish Kumar, Pavan K Varma said he is "deeply perplexed" by the development amid the citizenship law protests and is looking to him for "ideological clarity".

The JDU, in alliance with the BJP for the first time in Delhi, will contest two seats in the February 8 election.

"On more than one occasion, you have expressed your grave apprehensions about the BJP-RSS combine," Pavan Varma said in the letter on Tuesday.

"If these are your real views, I fail to understand how the JDU is now extending its alliance with the BJP beyond Bihar, when even long standing allies of the BJP, like the Akali Dal, have refused to do so," he wrote.

"This is especially so at a time when the BJP, through the CAA-NPR-NRC combine, has embarked on a massive social divisive agenda aimed at mutilating the peace, harmony and stability of the country," Mr Varma said.

On Monday, the Akali Dal, the BJP's Punjab ally, opted out of the Delhi polls citing reservations over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA. The Akali said the exclusion of Muslims from the law was not acceptable to it.

Making his letter to Mr Kumar public in a tweet, Mr Varma said he was "asking him how the JD (U) has formed an alliance with the BJP for the Delhi elections, given his own views on the party, and the massive national outrage against the divisive CAA-NPR-NRC scheme".

Mr Varma reminded his party boss that in their first meeting in 2012, even before he had formally quit the Indian Foreign Service, "you had spoken to me at length and with conviction on why Narendra Modi and his policies are inimical for the country." He also referred to Mr Kumar's call for an "RSS-mukt Bharat (RSS-free India)".

"It was your personal view that the BJP is destroying institutions, and that there is a need for democratic and socialist forces within the country to regroup..."

The RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP.

"The cause for confusion arises from the fact that even after you changed tracks and aligned again with the BJP in 2017, your private apprehensions regarding the BJP did not change," says Mr Varma, even claiming that the Chief Minister "confessed" to him in private about the current BJP leadership humiliating him.

He said there was an urgent need for the JDU to "harmonize" what the party leader felt in private and the action the party took in public.

This is the latest in a series of tweets and letters from two leaders within the party -- Mr Varma and Prashant Kishor -- prodding the JDU chief to spell out his stand on the citizenship law amid nationwide protests. The JDU had voted in favour of the law in parliament even after Mr Kumar criticized it within the party.

Sources close to the chief minister, however, say the JDU is "all about Nitish Kumar" and the opinion of rootless leaders who haven't contested elections doesn't really matter.

Mr Varma, a close aide of Nitish Kumar, had also written to him earlier this month flagging the Chief Minister's "silence" on the NRC or National Citizens' Register.

Mr Kumar recently acknowledged the protests and ruled out the NRC in his state.

The citizenship law, which makes religion a criterion for Indian citizenship, says non-Muslim minorities from Muslim-majority countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan can become citizens easily if they fled religious persecution and entered India before 2015. Critics believe the CAA, along with the NRC or citizen's list, will be used to target Muslims.

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