Sena takes a U-turn on CAB, seeks clarifications on certain points for its support in RS

Mumbai : In a U-turn, the Shiv Sena chief and the Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said the Sena won’t back the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha till there is clarity on the party’s queries posed in the Lok Sabha. Surprisingly, the Sena has supported the Bill in Lok Sabha that was adopted on Monday.

The Bill that seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after facing religious persecution there, a little past midnight on Monday after a heated debate that lasted over seven hours. The Sena had supported the Bill in the Lower House.

Talking to media persons here on Tuesday, the chief minister said that a detailed discussion and debate on the Bill was necessary. The Modi government needs to worry about the economy, job crisis and rising cost of living, especially the onions price rise, more than the implementation of the Bill, he said. “We need to change this notion that one who supports the Bill and the BJP is a patriot and one who opposes it is anti-national. The government should answer all the issues raised on the Bill,” he said.

Taunting the saffron party, Thackeray pointed out that the BJP feels that anyone who disagrees with them is a ‘deshdrohi’ (traitor). The Sena has suggested changes it wants to be included in the Bill in Rajya Sabha, he said. Where will these refugees stay … in which state. All this should be clarified, he added.

On the other hand, the NCP, one of the ruling partners of Sena, clarified that the two are different parties and it is not possible always for them to hold the same view on all issues.

Reacting for the support of Sena on CAB in Lok Sabha, Nawab Malik, the spokesman of NCP, however, said the parties are committed to ensure that no injustice is meted to anyone on the grounds of religion, caste, language and region in Maharashtra. The Maharashtra Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant also said that though the Shiv Sena has backed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) in the Lok Sabha, it was hopeful the Uddhav Thackeray-led party will stick to the common minimum programme (CMP) while governing the state.

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