Citizenship Amendment Bill in Rajya Sabha today, BJP confident of numbers
A day after the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to fast-track Indian citizenship to members of persecuted minorities from Muslim-majority Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, was passed in Lok Sabha, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is confident of the bill’s passage in the Rajya Sabha as well although it doesn’t have a majority in the Upper House.
Its former ally, the Shiv Sena’s statement that it will not support the bill in the upper house unless the party addresses the questions raised by it, has not dampened the BJP’s hope that it will get the necessary support for the passage of the Bill. The party also brushed aside divisions within the JD(U) over the issue of supporting the Bill and said, it is counting on getting 127 votes in the upper house.
“The Shiv Sena’s statement will not affect the passage of the Bill…we are confident of the numbers,” a senior BJP functionary and a member of the Rajya Sabha said.
The functionary was reacting to the Sena chief and Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackrey’s comment that the party voted for the CAB to absorb various people facing brutalities in other countries but has asked many questions. “…Those questions we thought would be answered, ranging from national security to 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 national interest. Clarity must be ensured,” the Maharashtra CM has tweeted. The Shiv Sena, which parted ways from the BJP over differences on government formation in Maharashtra, raised several concerns about the provisions of the bill during the discussion in Lok Sabha, but eventually voted in favour of the legislation that will offer Indian citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Parsis, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains from the three countries.
The BJP is certain that it will get support from parties such as the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD)-- all of which are outside the fold of the National Democratic Allliance (NDA). A second senior BJP functionary, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the party was confident of garnering the support of non-NDA parties because they had in the past backed Bills seeking the effective revocation of Article 370 that guaranteed special status to Jammu and Kashmir and the bifurcation of the state into Union territories -- J&K and Ladakh, and also the legislation that criminalized triple talaq.
The BJP, which has 83 members in the 245-member house, is counting on the support of 11 AIADMK, 7 BJD, 2 YSRCP, 2 TDP, 1 AGP, 1 BPF, 1 NPF, 1 SDF, 4 Independent and Others and 3 nominated members.
The party will also get the support of the NDA allies, which includes six members of the Janata Dal (United) three of the Akali Dal, one each from the Republican Party of India and Lok Janashakti Party. There are currently five vacancies in the upper house.
The Opposition, which includes the Congress, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Trinamool Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, the left parties, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Aam Aadmi Party and the Janata Dal (Secular) have all opposed the bill. A clutch of parties said they will push for a review of the bill by a Select Committee.