Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday reached out to Muslim voters in the state’s Seemanchal region, allaying fears over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, reported NDTV. In doing so, the Janata Dal (United) chief criticised Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath who also happens to be a popular face of ally Bharatiya Janata Party. The JD(U) and BJP are contesting the ongoing Bihar Assembly elections together while the opposition Grand Alliance comprises the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress and Left parties.
“Who does all this malicious campaigning?” Kumar said while addressing a rally, according to The Indian Express. “Who says all this faltu baat [nonsense]? Who will throw out people? No one dares do that. Everyone belongs to this country, everyone is Indian.” The Seemanchal region in the state’s northeast has a sizeable minority community. Although Kumar did not name anyone during his speech, it is apparent that he was referring to Adityanath’s remark.
On Tuesday, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister spoke about the new law while addressing a rally in Katihar. “Modiji has found a solution for the infiltration issue,” Adityanath had said. “With the CAA [Citizenship Amendment Act], he ensured the safety of the tortured minorities of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. The centre also said any infiltrator who tries to breach the security of the country will be thrown out. We will not tolerate anyone who messes with the country’s security and sovereignty.”
Kumar asked who talks in that manner. “Our effort is to work for harmony, unity ad brotherhood so there can be progress,” he added. “And these people only want to create divides; they have no other work.”
Later, Kumar tweeted his remarks. “It is our duty and in our culture to take everyone along. Bihar will progress only then,” he added.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. It has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. The Janata Dal (United) had voted in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in both Houses of Parliament.
Two phases of the Bihar Assembly elections were held on October 28 and November 3 while the third and final phase on voting will be held on November 7. The results will be declared on November 10.