After much suspense over whether it will support BJP on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Rajya Sabha, Shiv Sena MPs chose to distance themselves from the voting procedure at the eleventh hour. All three Rajya Sabha MPs of Shiv Sena were not present inside Rajya Sabha when final voting on Citizenship Bill was carried out. When asked whether it was a boycott, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said yes. He was quoted by ANI.
Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha on Wednesday (December 11). 125 Rajya Sabha MPs voted in favour of the bill while 105 voted against. Shiv Sena MPs Sanjay Raut, Anil Desai and Rajkumar Dhoot were not present inside the house at the time of the voting.
Shiv Sena supported Citizenship Bill when it was introduced in Lok Sabha. However, the party had expressed reservations on extending support in Rajya Sabha.
"We need to change this notion that one who supports the Bill and the BJP is a patriot and one who opposes it is anti-national.The government should answer all the issues raised on the Bill," Uddhav Thackeray had said on Tuesday. This had signified Shiv Sena's hardening stand on the issue.
This was apparent inside Rajya Sabha during the debate. Sanjay Raut slammed BJP and took potshots
"The school in which you study, I am Headmaster of that. The Headmaster of our school was Balasaheb Thackeray. Atalji was also there. Syama Prasad Mukherjee was also there. We respect all of them," Raut said.
During his speech, Sanjay Raut sought to highlight protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in different parts of the country.
After the bill was passed by Lok Sabha, Shiv Sena had maintained that it needed clarification from the government on a few issues. Raut reasserted this after the bill was passed in Rajya Sabha.
"My party and I felt that when answers are not given properly then it is not right to either support or oppose the Bill," Raut told ANI.
He contended that refugees being granted citizenship according to the law should be barred from voting for 25 years. He claimed that there is a possibility of "vote bank politics" if voting rights are given to such refugees immediately.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah wondered during his speech why Shiv Sena did not offer firm support to Citizenship bill in Rajya Sabha.
"What happened in a single night?" he asked.
Sanjay Raut rubbished speculation Shiv Sena's stand having any effect in Maharashtra where it is allied with Congress and NCP and leading the government.
"What effect will it have? We have kept forth our view. We are an independent political party. We have our own role," he told ANI.
Watch | CAB passed in Rajya Sabha; 125 votes in favour of the Bill, 105 votes against