- BSP's Ramabai Parihar was suspended for supporting the citizenship law
- She has also been banned from participating in party events
- If discipline is broken, immediate action is taken, says Mayawati
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, who has been a vocal critic of the amended Citizenship Act, has suspended a party MLA for supporting the law amid widespread protests across the country. "If discipline is broken, immediate action is taken against MPs and MLAs of the party," she tweeted today.
On Saturday, BSP MLA Ramabai Parihar supported the new citizenship law at an event in her constituency - Patharia in Madhya Pradesh's Damoh district - where Union Minister Prahlad Patel was also present. "I congratulate (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi, Prahlad Patel and Amit Shah for the smooth passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). It's a great decision which should have been taken much before... but it seems those in power the past weren't competent of taking such a decision. I and my family support the CAA," she said.
The comments did not go well with her party chief. "The BSP is a disciplined party and if discipline is broken, immediate action is taken against MPs and MLAs of the party. BSP MLA Ramabai Parihar from Patharia has been suspended from the party for supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act. She has also been banned from participating in the party events," the 63-year-old leader tweeted this morning.
"The BSP was the first one to say that CAA is divisive and against the ethos of the constitution. Our party voted against the bill in parliament and we also urged the president to revoke it. Despite this, Ramabai Parihar went on to express her support for the legislation," she wrote in another tweet, adding that the MLA has been warned on few other instances for going against the party line.
The BJP on Saturday had praised Ms Parihar for taking a stance opposite to her party's. "The BJP welcomes Rambai Parihar's bold speak. Many more politicians on the ruling side in Madhya Pradesh know that CAA is good for the country, but they do not dare to speak. May be, now they'll also come out and speak about what they think," BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said.
In the 230-member Madhya Pradesh assembly, Ramabai Parihar is among the two BSP MLAs. Last year, Congress's Kamal Nath formed the government in the state with the support of Mayawati's BSP, one MLA from the Akhilesh Yadav's Samajawadi Party and four independents.
Massive protests have swept India since parliament cleared the Citizenship Amendment Act earlier this month. The law, for the first time, makes religion a test of citizenship in the country. The government says the law will help the persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Admitting illegal migrants as citizens on the basis of religion violates the fundamental rights to life and equality, critics have said.
Last week, the BSP chief had told the central government to give up its "stubborn stand" over the controversial law and withdraw its decision.
Some of her party colleagues also met President Ram Nath Kovind last week, alleging that the contentious law was against Articles 14 and 21 the Constitution. They also demanded withdrawal of the law and a judicial inquiry into the December 15 clampdown on students of Jamia Millia University amid protests against the legislation.