Before the Narendra Modi government will table the Citizenship Amendment Bill for discussion in the Lok Sabha on 9 December, differences have cropped up in the Maha Vikas Aghadi as the Shiv Sena has indicated its support for the bill while both the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Indian National Congress (INC) are ideologically against the move of the Centre.
The INC said that in the Maharashtra coalition government’s common minimum programme, it had been decided that any action would be taken only after consensus on national issues such as the Citizenship Amendment Bill. According to INC sources, the party will talk to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to sort the matter out.
But Sanjay Raut said that the CMP of the Maharashtra government and the ideology of the Shiv Sena were two different things. He added that on issues that are of national interest, his party would not change its position. “Shiv Sena has always been in favour of deporting infiltrators. So, on this issue, we stand with the Centre,” he said.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill proposes to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. This includes easing citizenship rules for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christianity refugees from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Presently, it is mandatory for a person to stay in India for at least 11 years to get citizenship. Through this amendment, the government wants to alter the period of acquiring citizenship, which would be between one and six years.
If this bill is passed, all immigrant Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, including the illegal ones, will be eligible for Indian citizenship.
Congress Rajya Sabha MP Husain Dalwai, speaking to a television channel on Wednesday, demanded a ban on the Hinduist organisation Sanatan Sanstha incarceration of its chief Jayant Athavale for their alleged involvement in the Narendra Dabholkar murder case. Dalwai has also demanded the arrest of two other Hinduist leaders Milind Ekbote and Bhide Guru ji in connection with the violence in Koregaon-Bhima near Pune on 1 January 2018.
INC MPs are but targeting NCP leader Jayant Patil for the same incident of rioting.
Disagreeing with Dalwai’s statement, Raut said that restrictions did not prove effective in such cases. “Thoughts do not die due to a ban,” the Shiv Sena MP said.
The ideologies of Shiv Sena and Sanatan Sanstha have commonalities. Maharashtra being the playground of both, the Shiv Sena has not been opposed to the Sanatan Sanstha. Shiv Sena’s core constituency may rebel of its Hindutva image takes a hit.