Creating a major rift in newly constituted Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance, the Shiv Sena has decided to back the BJP over the Citizenship Amendment Bill by extending its support in the Parliament to the Bill. The Citizenship Amendment Bill is listed to be tabled in the Lok Sabha by Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday itself. Contradictorily, Sena’s alliance partner Congress alongside CPI (M), AIMIM and the Trinamool Congress has openly revolted against the bill, calling it unconstitutional and against India’s secularity.
“Congress party is against any form of discrimination against anybody in this country. So, anybody who discriminates against anybody who is Indian, we are against them. That is our line. We believe that India belongs to everybody– all communities, all religions, all cultures,” Rahul Gandhi had told reporters in Kozhikode.
Scion of the Gandhi dynasty, which is renowned for appeasing the minorities, Rahul Gandhi announced, “So, anybody who discriminates against anybody who is Indian, we are against them,” not realising kind of communal discrimination his party had inflicted on the nation with various policies including Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparations) Bill, 2011.
While the Congress party is likely to strongly oppose the Bill, BJP’s former ally Shiv Sena is expected to support it, creating a bone of contention in the alliance.
Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi had chaired a meeting with party’s parliamentary strategy group recently to take a decision on party’s stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsis, Buddhists, Jains from three neighbouring countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
This move of the Sena backing the CAB is in direct contradiction to its recently formed Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance’s stance. Shiv Sena which allied with the ‘secular’ Congress, had recently released its ‘secular’ joint Common Minimum Programme. The CMP’s preamble declares that the alliance will take a joint view on matters which have consequences on the ‘secular fabric of the nation’ indicating towards a toned-down right-wing Shiv Sena.
As the BJP has claimed that the bill will grant citizenship to ‘persecuted minorities’ coming from ‘Muslim majority’ country, Opposition has claimed that the move was aimed at promoting BJP’s pro-Hindutva stance. Shiv Sena from its inception to date has been a strong advocate of Hindutva – which has been a major reason for the BJP-Sena’s three-decade strong alliance.