Opposition readies 2-way strategy to counter CAB in Rajya Sabha
According to people familiar with the matter, it will try to stop the passage of the bill, but in the likely situation of their numbers falling short of a majority, it will press for its review by a Select Committee.Updated: Dec 10, 2019 11:07 IST
The Opposition will work on a two-pronged strategy in the Rajya Sabha against the proposed amendments to the Citizenship Act, which was passed in the Lok Sabha.
According to people familiar with the matter, it will try to stop the passage of the bill, but in the likely situation of their numbers falling short of a majority, it will press for its review by a Select Committee.
The Congress, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), and the Left parties have prepared drafts of their individual motions, the people added.
The likely arguments put forward by the four opposition parties will contend that since the bill drastically changes the foundation of India’s citizenship laws, it must be referred to a select panel for further review. A Select Committee is a panel comprising members of a House where it is formed and deals with a specific subject.
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While the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supported the bill in the Lok Sabha, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Shiv Sena opposed the introduction of the bill in the Lok Sabha. The opposition parties have also managed to secure the support of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
Though there are department-related standing committees in place, the chances are thin that the government will agree to send it to the Standing Committee on Home Affairs, a Congress MP said. The committee is led by Congress leader Anand Sharma.
Earlier in this session of Parliament, the bill to regulate surrogacy was referred to a Select Committee after several members pointed out inadequacies in its provisions.
“We have prepared their motion for sending the bill to a select committee. The bill should not be passed hastily,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Elamaram Kareem said.
While the Congress and the Left parties have strong objections on the grounds that the bill violates the fundamental tenets of the Constitution, the DMK will oppose the bill in the Rajya Sabha over the government’s silence on issue of Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka. On Monday, DMK leader Dayanidhi Maran said, “Amit Shah is the home minister for north India. He is not the home minister for the country because he is not bothered about Tamil Nadu. There are thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils living in refugee camps for almost 30 years. But they have not got Indian citizenship. What is the government going to do for them?”
Congress strategist in the Rajya Sabha, Jairam Ramesh, justified that the demand to send the bill to a select panel. “The bill is changing the basic structure of the Constitution,” he said.
He also posted a statement of eminent scientists and scholars on Twitter and tweeted, “While the blatantly & brazenly unconstitutional Citizenship Amendment Bill will be bulldozed by the Home Minister in Parliament, this statement by scientists & scholars gives hope that the flame of Gandhi’s India still flickers & will not be extinguished.”