‘Task of Saving India on You’: Prashant Kishor Urges Non-BJP CMs to Take Stand Against Citizenship Act


New Delhi: Election campaign strategist and JD(U) national vice-president Prashant Kishor, who has been speaking ferociously against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) that has been passed by both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, on Friday made a last-ditch effort to stop the implementation of the Act.

Taking to Twitter, Kishor urged the non-BJP chief ministers to “save the soul of India” and take a stand against the contentious Act. “The majority prevailed in Parliament. Now beyond judiciary, the task of saving the soul of India is on 16 Non-BJP CMs as it is the states who have to operationalise these acts,” he said.

“3 CMs (Punjab/Kerala/WB) have said NO to #CAB and #NRC. Time for others to make their stand clear,” he added.

On Monday, Kishor had expressed disappointment over his party supporting the CAB in the Lok Sabha, holding that the legislation discriminates against people "on the basis of religion".

In a tweet late in the night when the Bill was put to vote and passed by the Lok Sabha with a resounding majority, Kishor sought to underscore that the Bill was "incongruous with the constitution of the party, headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, which swore by secularism and Gandhian ideals”.

"Disappointed to see JDU supporting #CAB that discriminates right of citizenship on the basis of religion. It's incongruous with the party's constitution that carries the word secular thrice on the very first page and the leadership that is supposedly guided by Gandhian ideals," the poll strategist-turned-politician tweeted.

Participating in the debate on the Bill, the party's leader in the Lok Sabha, Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh, said on the floor of the House that the JD(U) was supporting the legislation since it was "not against secularism".

Notably, the JD(U) had till recently been in opposition to the National Register for Citizens (NRC) and the CAB, notwithstanding its alliance with the BJP, holding that the moves discriminated against the Muslim population and could trigger massive unrest in the north-east.

Kishor had last month also lashed out at the BJP on his Twitter handle, seeking to know chief ministers of how many of the "15 plus states with 55 per cent of population" not belonging to the saffron party were consulted over NRC in respective provinces, in what was seen as a rebuttal to Union Home Minister Amit Shah's assertion that the National Register for Citizens should be implemented across the country.

Kishor, who is known to speak his mind and often cause embarrassment to the leadership of the party, which has in the recent past made many about turns, was made a primary member of the JD(U) in September last year and elevated to the top post within a few weeks.

After an over seven-hour-long debate, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha, with 311 members favouring it and 80 voting against it.

Several amendments brought by opposition members, including one by Shiv Sena MP, were defeated either by voice vote or by a division.

According to the proposed legislation, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants and will be given Indian citizenship.