For Delhi polls, Prashant Kishor not a star campaigner for Nitish Kumar’s party

Janata Dal (United) vice president Prashant Kishor and former Rajya Sabha MP Pavan Varma, who have opposed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), are among the notable omissions in the list of star campaigners released by the party for the Delhi assembly polls.

The JD (U) which has stitched an alliance for the first time with the BJP for the Delhi elections, will contest two seats — Burari and Sangam Vihar — as constituents of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) there.

Kishor who made his name as an election strategist, was among the list of star campaigners, which the party had released for the recently concluded Jharkhand assembly polls, last year. Last month, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) roped in Kishor to hone its election strategist for the February 8 Delhi assembly polls.

Both Kishor and Varma have been vocal against the CAA, NRC and the National Population Register (NPR) and wanted their party to clear its stand on them.

In a recent open letter to party president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Varma had asked him to categorically reject what he termed the “divisive CAA-NPR-NRC scheme”.

He said the CAA-NRC combine was a direct attempt to divide Hindus and Muslims, and to create social instability.

Varma had expressed his surprise at the “unilateral” announcement of Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi of the BJP that the NPR exercise would be carried out in the state between May 15 and 28 despite Kumar’s stand against the NRC.

Kishor had spoken strongly against the CAA and said the law in combination with the NRC, could turn into a dangerous combination.

Bihar minister Neeraj Kumar of the JD (U) parried a question on dropping Kishor and Varma from the list of campaigners saying, “Selecting star campaigners is the prerogative of the national party leadership.”

He said the decision (on star campaigners) would strengthen the NDA alliance in Bihar, as it would lead to better bonding between the BJP and JD(U) workers.

Jharkhand JD (U) unit president Salkhan Murmu said, “Everything is decided as per Nitish ji’s wishes. I will not say anything beyond this.”

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