MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena supported the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) in Lok Sabha on Monday. However, party Chief and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday indicated that its support for the bill can’t be taken for granted and it won’t support the bill till questions raised by it are all answered.
“We will not support the Bill (Citizenship Amendment Bill) unless things are clear. We have suggested changes in Citizenship Amendment Bill we want in Rajya Sabha,” Thackeray told reporters here at the Vidhan Sabha on Tuesday.
Thackeray’s clarification came in just after former Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “The #CAB is an attack on the Indian constitution. Anyone who supports it is attacking and attempting to destroy the foundation of our nation.”
“I am not saying anything on what someone else has said. I am only speaking on behalf of my party,” Thackeray tweeted responding to queries.
“Nobody should teach us what stand we should take. Shiv Sena has always put across its stand. Our stand is very clear. We shall not support the bill till there is enough clarity on it. Issues of everyday life are more important,” Thacekray added.
“A blow to the neighboring countries was needed. A stern warning against plight or religious minorities in those countries was much needed. But, that has not happened,” Thackeray said while explaining his party’s stand.
“If any citizen is afraid of the provisions of the Bill then one must clear their doubts. One must answer their questions too. The government should answer all the issues raised on the Bill,” Thackeray said.
He also took potshots at the BJP’s efforts to portray the support to the bill as “patriotism”.
“We need to change notion that one who backs CAB and BJP is patriot,” Thackeray said.
“It is an illusion that only BJP cares for the country,” he further said while indicating party’s firm stand on the issue. Anyone who disagrees (with the central government) is a ‘deshdrohi’ (traitor) is an illusion that is believed by the BJP,” he added.
The statement from Thackeray came a day after his party supported the contentious CAB in the “interest of the nation” in Lok Sabha. “All parties like us will keep the interest of the nation first if there is clarity on the bill and the suggested changes are taken into consideration,” Thackeray added while speaking on the issue.
Congress MP Hussain Dalwai had expressed displeasure over Shiv Sena’s stand on the bill in Lok Sabha, while Sena MP Arvind Sawant had said that his party supported the bill “in the interest of the nation”.
“Common minimum program was charted out before the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government was formed in the state. The program is devised for the smooth functioning of the state government. But, the CAB has been brought in to keep the national interest. It is in accordance with Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray’s ideas of citizenship,” Sawant had said.
He also said that Shiv Sena has not joined the UPA and hence it was not binding on the party to oppose the bill.
The Bill will be tabled in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Sena’s support to the bill in Lok Sabha was being interpreted as a sign of trouble in the Maharashtra alliance. Sawant was the only Sena minister who quit the Union Cabinet when party ended its ties with the BJP and turned to the Congress and NCP to form the “Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi”. The Common Minimum Programme of the alliance vouches commitment “to uphold secular values enshrined in the constitution”.