Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday reiterated that he had asked the Centre to drop "contentious clauses" from National Population Register (NPR) forms and carry out its update the way it was done in 2010.
Kumar spelled out his stand on the NPR again while replying to an adjournment motion on CAA-NPR-NRC moved by Leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Yadav in the Assembly.
Replying to repeated demand made by Yadav that the house pass a resolution against NPR in its current format, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said the chief minister has been categorical in saying that in Bihar nobody would be required to provide information such as places of birth of parents and there was "no room for confusion".
The chief minister also suggested that the state government's letter to the Centre about NPR could be treated as a resolution and passed unanimously by the house.
Amid a raucous debate on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), NPR and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the house, the CM urged the opposition to refrain from causing a "controversy" over the citizenship law while it was still being examined by the Supreme Court.
He also appealed to them to desist from raising the "bogey" of the NRC despite the Prime Minister's clarification that it was not on the anvil.
Kumar told the house that in its communication to the Centre on NPR, the state had also prayed for inclusion of "transgenders" against the gender column.
He proposed that the assembly pass a fresh "unanimous" resolution demanding that the census take into account populations of respective castes.
Uproarious scenes were witnessed in the house when it assembled at 11 AM and the opposition leader demanded that the adjournment motion be taken up for debate immediately to which Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shravan Kumar objected, saying it should be done at an appropriate time.
Yadav said that the CM, who had not entered the House by that time, had given an assurance last month that the burning issue would be debated during the next session.
Speaker Vijay Kumar Chaudhary gave his assent for a debate on the adjournment motion forthwith, noting that the house shall be busy with the budget for the next fiscal in the post-lunch session.
As the parliamentary affairs minister began to speak, Yadav and some other MLAs of his RJD and alliance partner Congress said the CAA was a "kala kanoon" (black law) to which ministers belonging to the BJP took strong exception.
Opposition members trooped into the well, raising slogans alleging that the BJP believed in the ideology of "Godse", the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi.
They were angrily confronted by ministers Vijay Kumar Sinha and Nand Kishore Yadav while another cabinet minister Pramod Kumar engaged in a verbal duel with RJD's Bhai Virendra and was shoved by the latter.
The Speaker adjourned the house, at about 1120 hours, for 15 minutes, in a bid to help the agitated members calm down.
Tejashwi Yadav rushed out of the House and told reporters, "We seek a resolution moved by this House against NPR in its current format. The Chief Minister has been saying that NPR should be held as per the previous format. But we want something concrete".
The CM also asked the opposition to exercise restraint over the new citizenship law, saying that several top leaders of the Congress, as also Yadav's father Lalu Prasad, had spoken in favour of a law for granting citizenship to refugees which the CAA was all about.
When some Congress leaders created a ruckus over Kumar naming Congress leaders like former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former President Pranab Mukherjee, they were berated by the Chief Minister, who remarked "are you sure you going to stay in the party and run for another term on its ticket?"
Speculations have been rife that the Congress, which had suffered a split in the legislative council, where three of its members crossed over to the JD(U) headed by Kumar, might see some of its MLAs changing loyalties ahead of the assembly polls due later this year.
After Kumar was through with his statement, Yadav rose in his seat and demanded that a specimen of the NPR format, which the state government approves of should be circulated inside the House since "we cannot take the Chief Minister on his word. He is known to change tack. We have experienced it".
The RJD leader's snide remark was a reference to Kumar snapping ties with his party and returning to the NDA in 2017.
Rising for a brief interjection, the Chief Minister started off with an avuncular admonition to the 30-year-old Yadav whom he told "don't keep saying too many things about me. Your father (Lalu Prasad) has a right to do so. Not you".
Kumar thereafter said that the house, which had last year passed a unanimous resolution seeking caste-based census, should consider doing so afresh.
The Speaker said, "The House shall consider bringing in a fresh resolution on caste-based census at an appropriate time if all members concur."