A row between Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his ally BJP’s star campaigner Yogi Adityanath has reopened cracks in the ruling coalition in the middle of the Bihar election campaign.
Nitish Kumar has publicly told off Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, for his comments on “throwing out infiltrators”.
“Who does all this malicious campaigning? 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 Bihar Chief Minister thundered at a public meeting on Wednesday.
“Who talks like this? Our effort is to work for harmony, unity and brotherhood so there can be progress. And these people only want to create divides; they have no other work.”
Nitish Kumar even tweeted the remarks with the comment: “It is our duty and in our culture to take everyone along. Bihar will progress only then.”
He did not name anyone in his speech, but it was widely perceived as a rejoinder to his Uttar Pradesh counterpart, who has been campaigning for the BJP-led coalition in Bihar.
Yogi Adityanath was addressing a rally in Katihar yesterday when he talked about the new law that enables Indian citizenship for non-Muslim minorities from neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they fled religious persecution and entered India before 2015.
“Modiji has found a solution for the infiltration issue… 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,” said Yogi Adityanath.
Nitish Kumar’s angry pushback once again laid bare his ideological contradictions with the BJP.
The CAA, which was enacted last December, led to nationwide protests by activists, opposition parties and others who alleged that along with the National Register for Citizens (NRC), it could be used to target minorities.
Nitish Kumar had said in January that the NRC was confined to Assam and implementing it nationwide was needless.
The Bihar Chief Minister was also at odds with the BJP-led central government’s move to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and his party Janata Dal United had initially opposed it in parliament. Later, he backed it saying it had already become law.