The Shiv Sena on Wednesday said it will vote against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill if it's taken up in the Rajya Sabha. Sena leader Sanjay Raut told IE, “It is a political Bill, intended to serve the electoral interests of the BJP. We are under no obligation to throw our weight behind it."
This declaration from the Shiv Sena comes at a time when uncertainty is looming over the existing BJP-Sena alliance in Maharashtra. The Sena is the second NDA ally after the Nitish Kumar led Janata Dal (United) to decline support for the Bill in the upper House where the BJP lacks a majority.
“Every region has its own identity and an element of pride. That is why linguistic states were created. People of the Northeast feel the Bill (if it becomes a law) will change the demographic character of the region,” Raut added.
The controversial Bill seeks to grant citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from neighbouring Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, if they have stayed in India for six years.
BJP allies Mizo National Front, National People's Party, Naga Peoples' Front, National Democratic Progressive Party, Hill State People Democratic Party, Peoples Democratic Front, United Democratic Party and Asom Gana Parishad are united in their protest against the Bill.
Out of 245 members in the House, along with the Opposition's 114 members, six from the JD(U), three from the Sena and one from the Naga People's Front are likely to oppose the Bill.