New Delhi: MPs on Friday received copies of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) for them to study it, ahead of its introduction in the Lok Sabha next week. The Bill, which is facing severe protests in the northeast, will be introduced in the Lok Sabha on November 9, and, according to reports, will be tabled for passage the next day.
The CAB was passed by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday.
The Bill aims to give Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan if they entered India on or before December 31, 2014. It seeks to amend the Citizenship Bill, 1955; however, there have been protests against it in the northeast over apprehensions that it would lead to a large-scale influx of migrants in the region from the three countries, particularly Bangladesh. ‘
Additionally, the opposition alleges that the Bill is ‘discriminatory’ as it excludes Muslims from getting Indian citizenship.
The Bill is expected to sail through the Lok Sabha as the BJP has a majority in the lower House. While the party has 303 seats of its own, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), a coalition led by it, has 353 seats. It is in the Rajya Sabha, where the government does not have a majority, that passing the CAB might get difficult.
Thus far, only the Congress, DMK, Left, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have said that they will vote against the Bill.
In a surprise, however, Shiv Sena, the BJP’s former ally in Maharashtra, which now sits on the opposition benches, has indicated that it will vote in support of the CAB, as it stands with the government on the issues related to national security.