Shiv Sena’s U-Turn on Citizenship Bill in Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi: Two days after the Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship Bill with overwhelming support from several parties, including the Shiv Sena, the party’s MP Sanjay Raut hit out at the BJP during the debate on the proposed law asking why those who are critical of it are being labelled as anti-nationals.

“I have been hearing since yesterday that those who do not support this Bill are anti-national and those who support it are nationalist…. We don’t need any certificate on our nationalism or Hindutva,” he said.

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Raut’s comments in the Upper House comes even as a conflict seems to be brewing between his party and its ally, the Congress, in Maharashtra over Shiv Sena supporting the Bill in the Lok Sabha.

Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat said that the Shiv Sena should have acted as per the Constitution and the Common Minimum Programme that had been agreed on between the three alliance partners, the Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena, when forming the government in the state.

Raut’s stand in the Rajya Sabha therefore marks a shift in the party’s stand. “We believe in the Prime Minister and Home Minister’s abilities. But, once this Bill is passed, will it keep out infiltrators? If refugees are accepted then politics should be waged over this issue. Will you be giving them voting rights,” he further asked.

Earlier in the day too, in a statement to media, he had contended that the Lok Sabha numbers are different and the “situation in the Rajya Sabha is different”. “The government has to reply to our queries. Votebank politics is not right. You are trying to create a Hindu-Muslim divide in the country yet again, leave it,” Raut said.