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Citizenship Amendment Bill Passage: Government sure of Rajya Sabha numbers

The government is set to introduce the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha on Monday and is confident of passing it in both Houses without a hitch.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 06, 2019, 06.55 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: The government is set to introduce the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha on Monday and is confident of passing it in both Houses without a hitch. The opposition, meanwhile, has decided to demand that the bill be send to a select committee for scrutiny.

The government will have no problem in getting the bill passed in the Lok Sabha and is sure of mustering the numbers in the Rajya Sabha too. BJP’s coalition partner JDU had reservations against the bill when it was introduced in January.

However, the government has managed to convince it now. “We had certain concerns regarding northeast states, especially tribal people of the region. The home minister has assured to safeguard their interests and so we will support the bill in both Houses,” JDU spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan told ET.

JDU has six MPs in the Rajya Sabha. Akali Dal too with its three MPs has extended support to the government. “We are supporting the bill as there are several Sikh refugees from Afghanistan and Pakistan and the bill will help them secure citizenship,” Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral told ET.

The government has also received assurance from BJP’s ‘dormant allies’ in Parliament. “We have mostly supported the government and a call on this will be taken by the CM of Tamil Nadu,” AIADMK MP Navneetha Krishnan told ET. AIADMK has 11 MPs in the Upper House. Similarly, BJD, which has seven MPs in the Rajya Sabha, too will support the bill.

The party has not announced its official decision but are in favour of the bill. “We are inclined towards supporting the bill,” a BJD MP said.

“The minorities in the neighbouring countries will be allowed in India and will be given citizenship, because they are persecuted there. There is nothing wrong in it. We are supporting it,” Vijayasai Reddy of YSRCP, which has two MPs, said.

TRS with six MPs in the Rajya Sabha says it will take a decision only after going through the draft of the bill.

Naga People’s Front and Bodo People’s Front with one MP each too are willing to support the government while the Sikkim Democratic Front will decide when the bill is introduced. MDMK leader Vaiko said that he will comment only after going through the bill.

The opposition plans to say in both Houses that the bill needs to be scrutinised and sent to the select committee. Congress held a meeting of like-minded parties on Thursday afternoon, which was attended by NCP, RJD, Trinamool, DMK, CPI, CPM, SP, BSP and smaller parties. Trinamool’s Derek O’Brien and Ripun Bora from Congress briefed the parties on the bill and its impacts.

The parties decided that their MPs will demand in either House that the bill be send to the select committee. “The bill has certain provisions which clearly violate the Constitution. Such a bill with far reaching impact must undergo scrutiny by a parliamentary committee,” Congress’ Anand Sharma said.

“We will oppose the bill,” SP MP Javed Ali said. “The exception basically lays down multiple standard of citizenship. Now you are saying that in the inner line of permit areas, in Sixth Schedule area, the terms and conditions of citizenship will be different.

Because it suits BJP’s political cheap stunt,” O’Brien said. BSP leader Mayawati said in Lucknow that CAB was ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘divisive’. She demanded that it be sent to a parliamentary committee for review. BSP MP Danish Ali said his party will oppose the bill.

AAP’s Sanjay Singh too opposed the bill. RJD’s Manoj Jha expressed a similar view. Shiv Sena had supported the bill as an NDA constituent and will take a decision on it soon. Nominated RS MP KTS Tulsi said: “Under the Constitution, Parliament cannot enact a law which discriminates people on the basis of religion. This law will fail the test of Constitution and will only remain a gimmick.”

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