However, JD(U) MPS have indicated that there is no change in the party’s stand on the issue, though Kumar remains conspicuously silent on the issue
New Delhi: On Tuesday after hours of debate, the Lok Sabha passed controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) at the stroke of midnight. The Bill is now set to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
While on paper, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) appears to have a slim majority in the upper House. There seem to be some uncertainties regarding a few parties’ stands on the issue mainly the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and ShivSena
Currently, the BJP has 83 MPs in the Rajya Sabha, while its NDA partners — All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or AIADMK (11), Lok Janshakti Party or LJP (1), Republican Party of India Ramdas Athawale RPI(A) (1), Shiromani Akali Dal or SAD (3), JD(U) (6), Asom Gana Parishad or AGP (1), Bodoland People’s Front or BPF (1), and Paattali Makkal Katchi or PMK (1) — take the total number to 108. Among non-NDA members which supported the Bill in the Lok Sabha is Biju Janata Dal or BJD (7), Shiv Sena (3), YSR Congress Party or YSRCP (2), and Telugu Desam Party or TDP (2).
Around four of the six Independent MPs and three of the four nominated MPs are likely to support the CAB, which takes the number of those in favor of the bill, on paper, to 129. There is a total of 121 votes needed to pass the Bill in the upper house, which has an effective strength of 240, the BJP seems to have the support it needs. However, the path may become a little unsteady if some of the allies reconsider their position.
Former NDA ally ShivSena, while calling the CAB an attempt to create an “invisible partition” of Hindus and Muslims in its mouthpiece Saamna on Monday, supported the legislation in the Lower house “in the national interest”.
Maharashtra Chief Minister and ShivSena supremo Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said his party would not support the bill in the Rajya Sabha until things are clear,” while addressing media.
Recently the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) had been in opposition of the National Register for Citizens (NRC) and CAB, notwithstanding its alliance with the BJP, holding that the moves discriminated against the Muslim population and could trigger massive unrest in northeast India.
However, JD(U) MPS have indicated that there is no change in the party’s stand on the issue, though Kumar remains conspicuously silent on the issue.
The AIADMK similarly which received criticism for supporting the bill despite the fact that it excluded Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, is also under pressure whereas there’s no clarity over the AGP and BPF’s stand in the Rajya Sabha.
On the other hand around 105 MPs are most likely to oppose the bill, which include Congress (46), Trinamool Congress or TMC (13), Bahujan Samaj Party or BSP (4), Communist Party of India or CPI (1), Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI-M (5), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or DMK (5), Indian Union Muslim League or IUML (1), Peoples Democratic Party or PDP (2), Kerala Congress (1), Samajwadi Party or SP (9), Telangana Rashtra Samithi or TRS (6), Nationalist Congress Party or NCP (4), Rashtriya Janata Dal or RJD (4), Aam Aadmi Party or AAP (3) and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam or MDMK (1).
But, in case the JD(U), ShivSena or AIADMK decides to reconsider its support to the CAB, the BJP’s plans may suffer an upset in the Rajya Sabha. However, at present, that scenario seems unlikely.