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JDU changed stand on CAB after backlash over opposing 370

Some senior leaders such as Prashant Kishor, KC Tyagi and Pavan Verma seem to be unhappy over the party announcing support to the CAB in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 11, 2019, 08.15 AM IST
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JDU members said that it was a calculated risk which the party had to take between support from Muslims and Hindu upper castes.
NEW DELHI: The recent change of stand of the JDU on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was dictated by the political compulsions of party president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Some senior leaders such as Prashant Kishor, KC Tyagi and Pavan Verma seem to be unhappy over the party announcing support to the CAB in the Lok Sabha on Monday. Party vice president Prashant Kishor openly expressed his disappointment over the party stand in a post on Twitter, saying it was incongruous with the party’s constitution that carries the word ‘secular’ thrice on the very first page.

However, JDU members told ET that the decision to support the bill was taken after much deliberation at the top level. In August, the party had opposed the removal of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and remained absent during voting in both the houses. But the party faced a severe backlash in different parts of the state thereafter, with senior leaders as well as party workers expressing their anguish against the party leadership.

In January, the JDU had opposed the CAB and even claimed that because of its opposition the government did not introduce the bill in the Rajya Sabha. However, when home minister Amit Shah called Nitish Kumar to support the bill ahead of its introduction in the Lok Sabha now, Kumar asked for a middle path to convince party leaders.

“We were clear that either we had to support the bill or oppose the bill,” said a senior JDU leader from Bihar. “With the home minister taking care of our concerns regarding some tribal and specific communities in the Northeast we had no reason to oppose. After all, we are part of the NDA now.” The leader also said that even if the JDU had opposed the bill, it would not have impacted the government position in Parliament, where it was sure of getting numbers in the upper house through other partners.

JDU members said that it was a calculated risk which the party had to take between support from Muslims and Hindu upper castes. “Yes, we will lose some Muslim voters, but it will be interesting to see how much we gain from the upper caste votes in Bihar,” said a party leader, who did not wish to be identified.

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