New Delhi: Amid rising uproar from Opposition members and activists from across the nation, the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 will be tabled in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday at 2 PM by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The Bill that seeks to give citizenship to refugees from Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Zorastrian communities fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh was on Monday night passed in Lok Sabha after a day-long heated argument over it. The Bill was passed with a majority of 311 votes against 80 in the presence of 391 members.
To get the Bill passed in Rajya Sabha, the Central government needs the support of at least 123 MPs in the 245-member House. However, the BJP said it is confident of the passage of the Bill as the ruling NDA has the numbers.
As per updates, the effective strength of the Rajya Sabha is 238. The current strength of the NDA is 105 in Rajya Sabha, including 83 members of the BJP, six of Janata Dal (U), three of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), one each from LJP and RPI(A) and 11 nominated MPs.
To gain strength, the BJP said it is in talks with AIADMK, BJD, YSRCP, and TDP. With support of 22 members of these parties, the BJP-led NDA will have the strength of 127 members in Rajya Sabha which is above the majority mark of 120.
Starting from Northeast to New Delhi, the nation, however, is witnessing an unprecedented protest and uproar over the Bill as they feel it is unconstitutional in nature and discriminatory in spirit. Here are the top developments so far.
‘Dharna Pardarshan’ from Congress
As a mark of protest, the Congress has asked its state units to hold ‘Dharna Pardarshan’ across the country in protest against the proposed Bill. The Congress has also issued a three-line whip to its Rajya Sabha members and asked them to be present in the Upper House when the Bill will be tabled. The Congress said it will do so to enlighten the general public of its stand and mobilise support in favour of its decision.
Sena changes stand, faces flak
After extending support to the Bill in Lok Sabha on Monday night, the Shiv Sena changed its stand on Tuesday and said it will not support the Bill in Rajya Sabha until its doubts are addressed by the House.
However, the ruling party in Maharashtra faced flak from BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi for the changing stand. While Owaisi called the move ‘Bhangra politics’, Fadnavis said the Sena should not come under pressure from the Congress and change its stand.
Rising protests from activists
More than 600 individuals, including writers, artistes, former judges, and officials came forward on Tuesday to urge the Central government to withdraw the proposed Bill from the Parliament. In a petition, they urged the Central government to review its decision to pass the Bill in Rajya Sabha.
Earlier over 1,000 scientists and scholars in a petition had also urged the Central government to withdraw the proposed Bill.
Fresh rift in JDU over Citizenship Bill
A day after extending support to the Bill in Lok Sabha, a new rift was witnessed within the JDU as party leaders such as Prashant Kishor and Pawan Varma urged their party chief Nitish Kumar to reconsider its stand on the Bill. Both the leaders also called the Bill unconstitutional and termed it ‘discriminatory in spirit’.
Protest in Northeast
Normal life was worst hit across Northeast because of the shutdown and agitations organised by various tribal groups and youth organisations in protest against the Citizenship Bill. In Tripura, four policemen and several protesters were injured during clashes between the agitators and the security forces. Apprehending ethnic violence, the Tripura government, meanwhile, has suspended Internet and social media services in the entire state for 48 hours. The same kind of violence was also witnessed in Guwahati, Assam, where violent clashes erupted between agitators and security forces near the Secretariat and Assembly buildings in Guwahati amid rising slogans against the Bill.