The first phase of the National Population Register (NPR) will be carried out in the state between May 15 and May 28, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi has said.
He further added, “Administrative and punitive action will be taken against officials if they refuse to carry out NPR.”
The Deputy CM announcement began the internal tussle between the allies BJP and JD(U) in Bihar. The Assembly elections are scheduled in October-November this year.
Sushil Modi said that there is no question of discussing the issue of National Register of Citizens (NRC) as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it clear that the government had never discussed it.
"NPR and NRC are two different things, No state, including West Bengal, Kerala and Rajasthan, can refuse to implement the CAA or NPR as the Centre has the power to bring legislation over citizenship. Preparing NPR is a statutory provision which no state can refuse to implement," Modi said.
"No chief ministers, even if he/she is opposed to CAA and NPR, can refuse to implement them. Neither West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee nor Kerala CM P Vijayan can say that they won't implement NPR in their states. They can say anything for public consumption. But they can't say no to CAA and NPR... A census director in each state has already been appointed, including in West Bengal," he cancelled out the statement made by both the CMs.
On the documents required for NPR, Modi said , “There is no mandatory provision for it. He also stressed that no documents like birth certificate or land documents will be sought from the respondents”, whereas, he favoured adding a caste column in the Census 2021 and said that he would request the Centre for it as the state legislature has passed a unanimous resolution in this regard.
The newly formed Citizenship laws provoke the tension between the allies as the Senior JDU leader Shyam Rajak soon opposed the announcement, saying, “He was unaware of any such decision and Kumar was the right and "competent person" to make such announcements. Modi may have made this statement in his “personal capacity”.”
Another JD(U) leader, Pavan Varma on Sunday wrote a letter while requesting Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to reject the "divisive CAA-NPR-NRC scheme", saying this has "nefarious agenda to divide India and create a great deal of unnecessary social turbulence.... in consonance with your own publicly stated views, and long established secular vision, may I request you now to take a principled stand against the CAA-NPR-NRC scheme, and reject its nefarious agenda to divide India and create a great deal of unnecessary social turbulence.”
Further the letter stated, "A clear cut public statement by you to this effect would be a major step towards preserving and strengthening the idea of India to which, I know, you yourself are committed. The politics of principle cannot be sacrificed at the altar of short term political gain".
"The central government needs to focus on the real priorities of governance, such as the disastrous state of the economy, the absence of jobs, and agrarian distress, rather than such schemes whose only aim is to destroy the unity and social cohesion of our great country," Varma wrote in the letter.