Shiv Sena may back Centre’s citizenship bill, Uddhav Thackeray to take a call today
Shiv Sena could back the Central government’s Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) in Parliament, which will be introduced by its recently-estranged ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday. Sena president and state chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is expected to decide the party’s position on Sunday.
The bill aims to provide citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from the neighbouring nations of Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. It has been objected to by several Opposition parties, including the Congress, which is the Sena’s new ally in Maharashtra. A Sena MP said the party has always been against intruders and is with the Centre on the issue of national security. “We are in favour of the bill as it is against infiltrators. It aims to help give citizenship rights to persecuted Hindus, Jains, Christians, and Buddhists in the three neighbouring counties,” said an MP.
However, those within the party who are opposed to the bill believe that it will pose a burden on the country. “Should this be allowed in the name of religion? And why is it applicable to only these three nations?” said another Sena MP. Vinayak Raut, Sena MP from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg, said, “No decision has been taken yet. Senior leaders will meet the party chief on Sunday and he will decide.”
The party’s stance could be the first real test for the newly-formed Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress alliance. The bill has been deemed inherently anti-Muslim, and Congress and NCP are likely to oppose it. However, Sena leaders are not worried that their support might create any issue in the functioning of the state. NCP’s city unit chief Nawab Malik said, “These are national issues and the Shiv Sena is a separate party. They will decide what to do and we will chart our course.”