In Shiv Sena’s new line on citizenship bill, a phone call played a role
According to a top Congress leader, the party leadership reached out the its new ally in Maharashtra Shiv Sena on Tuesday to convey that their stand in Lok Sabha over the bill was uncalled for.Updated: Dec 11, 2019 15:56 IST
When Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday expressed apprehensions about Citizenship Bill, a day before its tabling in the Rajya Sabha, it hinted towards a u-turn. The Sena had supported the bill in the Lok Sabha, joining the list of parties which led to its clearance in the Lower House of Parliament.
It has now emerged that change in Shiv Sena’s stand came after Congress, its alliance partner in Maharashtra, expressed its discontent over the bill’s passage in the Lok Sabha and reached out to Thackeray on Tuesday morning. In the afternoon, Thackeray came out with a statement which said his party will not back the bill in the Rajya Sabha unless the government gives “clarity” on questions the party has raised.
“We voted yesterday to absorb various people facing brutalities in other countries but 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,” he said in Mumbai on Tuesday.
According to a top Congress leader, the party leadership reached out the its new ally in Maharashtra Shiv Sena on Tuesday to convey that their stand in Lok Sabha over the bill was uncalled for. “Our senior leader and Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot was in Mumbai and he spoke to Thackeray over the issue. The dialogue came in the backdrop of the Rahul Gandhi’s tweet in the afternoon. Thackeray, soon after the conversation gave reaction that it would oppose the bill in Rajya Sabha if their concerns were not addressed,” he said.
Rahul Gandhi had tweeted on Tuesday afternoon, “The #CAB is an attack on the Indian constitution. Anyone who supports it is attacking and attempting to destroy the foundation of our nation.”
Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had supported Sena-led government in Maharashtra last month. The Congress had put up a condition that the government should be secular, and that the Sena should shed its image of a party promoting hardline Hindutva.
Earlier on Tuesday morning, Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut had announced that his party supported the bill in the interest of the country. Another party MP Arvind Sawant had said on Tuesday, “Our decision to vote in favour of the citizenship bill was taken in the interest of the nation and the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) agreed by the Shiv Sena, NCP and the Congress is applicable in Maharashtra.”