A nine-hour long debate in the Rajya Sabha culminated in the passing of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB on Wednesday in which the House cast 125 votes in favour and 99 against.
As the mercurial debate on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill progressed, there were many flashpoints with a blackout of the Rajya Sabha TV as the Opposition heckled Home Minister Amit Shah while he was introducing the citizenship bill, to a verbal duel between the Opposition and the treasury benches.
While Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien drew parallels with Nazi Germany laws to slam the Citizenship Bill, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described December 12 as a “landmark day”.
Several senior Congress leaders have indicated that the party may move the Supreme Court against the CAB with advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi saying that the legislation will be legally challenged in the near future as it is against the constitutionality of India.
The Opposition termed the Citizenship Bill, which was part of BJP’s key election promises, as “unconstitutional”, “divisive” and “an assault on the democratic and secular fabric of the nation”.
As the Central government pulled up 125 votes in the favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill with cooperation from Janata Dal (United) (6) AIADMK (11) Biju Janata Dal (7) and Shiromani Akali Dal, the Opposition welcomed Shiv Sena’s decision to abstain from voting.
Sonia Gandhi described the move to be a “dark day in the Constitution of India” as Rajya Sabha pushed the Citizenship Bill a step closer to becoming legislation.
“The passage of Citizenship Amendment Bill marks the victory of narrow-minded and bigoted forces over India’s pluralism. It fundamentally challenges the idea of India that our forefathers fought for and, in its place, creates a disturbed, distorted and divided India where religion will become a determinant of nationhood,” Sonia Gandhi said.