It seems like the fault-lines between National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners in Bihar, Janta Dal (United) and Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) are finally widening up ahead of the 2020 assembly elections. The on-off relationship between BJP and JDU is not a new tale, as the JDU has previously defected from the alliance numerous times citing ideological differences but jumped back on the wagon whenever it has suited their cause. There have been growing calls from within the BJP ranks on implementing National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Bihar. BJP and JDU have been at loggerheads for quite some time now, first came the opposition to the triple talaq bill then the disagreement on the abrogation of Article 370. And when things seem to be simmering down a bit, BJP’s demand for NRC in the Seemanchal region has once again brought uneasiness in the alliance in Bihar.
“NRC is a sensitive matter. It was implemented in Assam after clearance from the apex court. However, our party is very clear that there is no need for NRC in Bihar or any other state,” said JDU principal general secretary KC Tyagi. Tyagi’s comments come at a time when BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Professor Rakesh Sinha has been openly conducting twitter polls to gauge whether NRC should be brought in the Seemanchal region or not. The results seemed highly in his favour. The member argued that infiltration is a kind of silent invasion by illegal immigrants that is clearly visible and pertinent in some districts of Bihar, especially in Araria, Purnia, Katihar and Kishanganj due to which the social environment has worsened in the state. JDU ’s vote-bank in the region is mainly Muslims and by no meaning it would be willing to let go of that security by pushing the NRC agenda and therefore, threaten the JDU-Muslim-appeasement policy. Senior BJP leader and Bihar minister Vinod Singh also iterated his fellow Rajya Sabha member’s stance saying that “The government must consider implementing NRC to identify Bangladeshi infiltrators in Bihar’s Seemanchal region”
क्या बिहार के सीमांचल में NRCहोना चाहिए :
— Prof Rakesh Sinha (@RakeshSinha01) September 4, 2019
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who is also the JDU president, has repeatedly said that his party is not in favour of NRC. Prashant Kishor, an election strategist and close aide of Nitish Kumar, had few days ago opposed NRC on twitter, saying that it is a ‘botched up’ process meant to leave lakhs of people as foreigners in their own country.
A botched up NRC leaves lakhs of people as foreigners in their own country!
Such is the price people pay when political posturing & rhetoric is misunderstood as solution for complex issues related to national security without paying attention to strategic & systemic challenges.
— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) September 1, 2019
It was Arun Jaitley who used to act as a bridge between New Delhi and Patna, as he was close with Nitish and used his tactical acumen to keep the two parties together and running. It was Jaitley who again forged the BJP-JDU alliance in 2017 after the torrid and bitter break-up of 2015. With the demise of Arun Jaitley, it seems like the alliance is looking for another trustworthy mediator who could keep the covenant between the two parties intact. Nitish Kumar understands that without BJP he does not stand a chance in the assembly elections in 2020 and therefore, does not show his dissent openly. The morale of JDU can be seen from the defeatist campaign slogan ‘Thike to hai Nitish Kumar’ which it put across the state and received a lot of criticism. If the alliance is to break-up, it is JDU who will be the sore loser and it would be extreme foolishness on their part to let it happen, yet again.