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Citizenship (Amendment) Bill: Shiv Sena changes tack, Uddhav Thackeray sets conditions for support in Rajya Sabha

FE Online
Citizenship Amendment Bill, Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray

After voting in favour of the bill in the Lok Sabha, Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday dropped hints that his party may not extend support to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha where it is scheduled to be tabled on Wednesday. Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Uddhav said that the government must incorporate the party’s demands and clear all the doubts of the people.

"We will not give support to the Bill (Citizenship Amendment Bill) unless things are clear," he said. "If any citizen is afraid of this bill then one must clear their doubts. They are our citizens so one must answer their questions too," the Sena chief added.

The Shiv has three MPs in the Rajya Sabha. In the Lok Sabha, the party had backed the legislation. The Shiv Sena is no more a constituent of the BJP-led NDA which has 106 MPs in the Rajya Sabha where the halfway mark is 121. The Sena quit the NDA last month and joined the ranks with political rivals the NCP and the Congress in Maharashtra to form a non-BJP government.

The BJP is hopeful that with the support of 28 non-NDA MPs, the bill will sail through the Upper House smoothly.

Uddhav also lashed out at the BJP for calling its opponents ‘anti-national’ if they don’t support its ideology. "Anyone who disagrees is a ‘deshdrohi’ (traitor) is their illusion. We have suggested changes in Citizenship Amendment Bill. We want that in Rajya Sabha. It is an illusion that only BJP cares for the country," he opined.

The UPA comprising Congress, NCP and others have 62 MPs. Also, 44 MPs of the regional parties are opposing the bill, taking the toll to 106.

The Shiv Sena is demanding that people who get Indian citizenship under the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill should not be given voting rights for 25 years. Participating in the debate on the bill in the Lower House, party MP Vinayak Raut had also sought clarity on how and in which states these people would be rehabilitated.