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BJP confident of citizenship bill's passage in Rajya Sabha

Source: PTI
December 10, 2019 21:13 IST
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IMAGE: Activists of SUCI (Communist) raise slogans during a protest rally against NRC (National Register of Citizens) and Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, in Kolkata, on Tuesday. Photograph: PTI Photo

Despite a boost in opposition numbers in Rajya Sabha against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the Bharatiya Janata Party is confident that the proposed legislation will be passed by the House with a comfortable majority on Wednesday when it is scheduled to be taken up for discussion.

Sources in the the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance said they were sure of getting near 124-130 votes in the Upper House which has an effective strength of 240 members.

Opposition ranks have been boosted by the decision of the six-member Telangana Rashtra Samithi, which has often backed the Modi government on its key legislative agenda, to oppose the bill.


Longtime BJP ally Shiv Sena, now a partner in the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance, also indicated on Tuesday it may not support the bill now after backing it in Lok Sabha.

The Maharashtra party with a history of pursuing strident Hindutva agenda has three members in Rajya Sabha.

BJP's allies Alll India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Janata Dal-United and Akali Dal has 11, six and three members respectively in the Upper House, besides regional parties like the Biju Janata Dal with seven MPs, and Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress and the Telugu Desam Party with 2 each are backing the bill.

The BJP has 83 members in Rajya Sabha.

Seven independents and nominated members besides a number of regional parties with one member each will back the bill, BJP floor managers said.

The opposition camp includes Congress, Trinamool Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Samajwadi Party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Left, NCP and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti with 46, 13, four, nine, five, four, six, four and six members respectively, totalling 97.

The support of Shiv Sena, Aam Aadmi Party and some smaller parties may take it near 110.

Some members, like the ailing Amar Singh, may not attend the House for health or other personal reasons.

On Monday, Lok Sabha passed the bill, which seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they fled their native country due to religious persecution.

According to the proposed legislation, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014, after facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.

Though the opposition has slammed the bill, alleging it is discriminatory against Muslims and violates the Constitution, Home Minister Amit Shah has asserted that people belonging to any religion should not have any fear under the Modi government.

The proposed law will give relief to those minorities who have been living a painful life after facing persecution in neighbouring countries, he said.

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