NEW DELHI, February 4: With unrest brewing in the north eastern states over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill issue, BJP chief Amit Shah on Sunday asserted that, the Centre will bring the legislation only if there is a “consensus” among all parties over it, indicating that the government may not push for the Bill in the ongoing budget session of Parliament.
“There are some issues on which there are differing opinions among different sections of people in the country. The Citizenship Bill has been taken up by BJP and the government after a lot of deliberation on it. It is very important and necessary for the country. But we are talking to all the parties including those in the Northeast… Rajnath Singh has already spoken to some parties… we will go by the consensus that comes up,” Shah said.
Shah was replying to a TOI question on the party and its government’s decision to bring the legislation, on a day when it has launched a month-long “democratic” exercise to collect public opinion on issues to use as inputs for BJP’s 2019 poll manifesto. Rajnath Singh as head of BJP’s manifesto committee was seated beside Shah at Sunday’s party event.
The BJP chief, however, underlined his party’s commitment to the bill, that seeks to grant citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, saying such large number of refugees cannot be left to their fate. “We are firm on this,” he said.
Shah’s comments came amid indications from BJP leaders that the government may not push the bill for passage in the ongoing budget session after facing strong resistance from different parties, including its own allies in the Northeastern states.
The bill provides for according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India. The legislation was passed by Lok Sabha during the Winter Session on January 8 and has been awaiting a nod from Rajya Sabha.
There has been strong opposition in Assam and other Northeastern states against the bill, which is seen as one of the reasons for the bill, along with the one on Triple Talaq issue, does not figure among the six legislations that the government has decided to focus on, in this last session, because of lack of support from the opposition. (TNN)