After backing Citizenship Bill in Lok Sabha, Sena puts support in Rajya Sabha on hold

The current strength of the Rajya Sabha stands at 238. BJP has 83 MPs in the Upper House and according to party sources, 122 members in the Rajya Sabha are already supporting the CAB and the party is expecting more parties to join them.

A day after the Shiv Sena backed the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha, raising eyebrows, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray Tuesday said the party won’t back the legislation in the Rajya Sabha unless there was clarity on its queries.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah will table the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which seeks to give citizenship to illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who fled to India because of religious persecution, tomorrow in the Rajya Sabha.

“We have asked many questions. Those questions we thought would be answered, ranging from national security to the rights of locals in various states of India. If these queries are not answered, we won’t be supporting the CAB in the Rajya Sabha. Every party supporting or opposing it is asking for clarity in the national interest. Clarity must be ensured,” Uddhav Thackeray said.

Sena MP Arvind Sawant told NDTV that the party supported the legislation in the “interest of the nation” even though in a scathing editorial against the bill, Sena mouthpiece Saamana said it could lead to an “invisible partition of India“.

“There’s a perception that whoever votes with the Central Government is a patriot and who voted against is anti-national. We must get out of that illusion,” the Shiv Sena supremo further said.

The bill was passed at the stroke of midnight by a division of votes, with 311 in favour and 80 against.

The current strength of the Rajya Sabha stands at 238. BJP has 83 MPs in the Upper House and according to party sources, 122 members in the Rajya Sabha are already supporting the CAB and the party is expecting more parties to join them. In its previous term, the government could not push the Bill through in the Rajya Sabha due to lack of numbers.

The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 and members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.

Sena backed Citizenship Bill in Lok Sabha

The Shiv Sena had lent support to the BJP-led NDA government in the passing of the Citizenship Bill in Lok Sabha on Monday. Sena MP Arvind Sawant told NDTV that the party backed the bill in the “interest of the nation”.

“The CMP (common minimum programme) is applicable in Maharashtra only,” he added.

On Monday, in an editorial against the bill, Sena mouthpiece Saamna said it could lead to the “invisible partition of India”.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi thanked Sena for their support. “I am thankful to them. They have realised that it is in the best interest of the nation that they have supported it. As far as we are concerned, I had appealed to all the parties to support the government,” he told NDTV.

Passage of CAB attack on Constitution: Rahul Gandhi

Condemning the passage of the Citizenship Bill in the lower house, Congress former chief and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi said the legislation is an attack on the Indian Constitution and those supporting it is actually attempting to destroy the foundation of our nation.

Sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi too launched a scathing attack on the BJP-led NDA government saying the passage of the Bill in the Lower House of Parliament Tuesday midnight confirmed India’s “tryst with bigotry” and “narrow-minded exclusion”.

“Last night at midnight, India’s tryst with bigotry and narrow-minded exclusion was confirmed as the CAB was passed in the Lok Sabha. Our forefathers gave their lifeblood for our freedom. In that freedom, is enshrined the right to equality, and the right to freedom of religion,” she said in a tweet.

Source: The Indian Express

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