- Prashant Kishor questioned Sonia Gandhi's "silence" over the NRC
- He said Congress-ruled states should declare they will not allow the NRC
- Mr Kishor said Congress did not amend the law when it had an opportunity
Political strategist and Janata Dal (United) leader Prashant Kishor has questioned Congress president Sonia Gandhi's "silence" over the National Register of Citizens (NRC). "If the Congress president gives one statement (on the NRC), it will bring clarity. Taking part in dharnas, demonstrations, that is all legitimate and valid, but why there is not even a single official statement coming from the Congress president on the issue is something beyond my understanding," Mr Kishor told ANI.
Mr Kishor said the Congress president or the Congress Working Committee (CWC) must ask all chief ministers of Congress-ruled states to declare that they will not allow the NRC in their states.
"More than 10 chief ministers, including the ones in the Congress, have said they will not allow NRC in their states. In other regional parties like those led by Nitish Kumar, Naveen Babu, Mamata didi or Jagan Mohan Reddy, the chief ministers are serving as the head of the parties. In the case of the Congress, the chief ministers are not the final decision-makers, and the CWC is the highest decision-making body," Mr Kishor said.
"My question and concern are why is that the Congress president hasn't said officially that the NRC will not be allowed in Congress-ruled states?" Mr Kishor added.
Mr Kishor said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government did not amend the law when it had an opportunity.
"The CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) was created back in 2003. From 2004 to 2014, the Congress government was in power. If the law was so unconstitutional, which is a fact, the Congress had an opportunity to amend it," Mr Kishor said.
Mr Kishor disagreed with Home Minister Amit Shah's explanation that there was no link between the National Population Register (NPR) and the NRC.
"Nobody needs to prove the link between NPA and NRC. The documents speak for themselves and they state that NPR is the first step for NRC. This is not a matter of an individual. It was stated by the President in his address. This entire NRC and NPR debate are linked to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2003, during which, for the first time it was defined that after NPR, if the government wishes, they can do NRC," Mr Kishor.
He cited speeches made by BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to outline his concerns over the issue.
"...On multiple platforms from the government side - none less than the Prime Minister himself at some of the election rallies in West Bengal - they talked about NRC. The Home Minister mentioned that it was not they who are linking (the two)," Mr Kishor said.
"NRC is a subset of the NPR. Now it is up to the government what they want to do. The government after implementing NPR may say that they won't go ahead with the NRC, but according to the process, NPR is a prerequisite to NRC. According to government documents, NPR and NRC are linked," Mr Kishor added.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Parsi refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India before 2015.
The NRC seeks to identify illegal immigrants in the country. It was rolled out in Assam on the directions of the Supreme Court; 19 lakh people were excluded in the final list.