- The #CAB is an attack on the Indian constitution, Rahul Gandhi tweeted
- Those supporting Bill attacking India's foundation, he added
- Attack comes after new ally Shiv Sena backed the Bill in Lok Sabha
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi today criticised the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill as a move that would "destroy the foundation" of India. His criticism comes after his party's new ally in Maharashtra, Shiv Sena, backed the government on passing the bill in the Lok Sabha in "national interest".
"The #CAB is an attack on the Indian constitution. Anyone who supports it is attacking and attempting to destroy the foundation of our nation," Mr Gandhi said, a day after the bill to amend a six-decade-old law to make it easier for non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to become Indian citizens was passed in the Lok Sabha.
The #CAB is an attack on the Indian constitution. Anyone who supports it is attacking and attempting to destroy the foundation of our nation.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 10, 2019
The CAB, short for Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, will be presented in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow. Many opposition parties call the proposed law discriminatory and allege that it is contrary to the basic tenet of secularism enshrined in the Constitution.
The Shiv Sena's support for the bill in an about-turn in the Lok Sabha came on the eleventh hour as the party had in an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana on Monday called the CAB an instrument that could lead to an "invisible partition" in India.
Sena MP Arvind Sawant told NDTV his party supported the bill "in the interest of the nation" and that the "CMP (common minimum programme) is applicable in Maharashtra only", making it clear that the Sena's support to the government on the CAB was not linked to Maharashtra politics.
The CMP is the glue that holds together the new coalition of the Shiv Sena led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the Congress and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party.
Shiv Sena troubleshooter Sanjay Raut, however, tweeted today that the party may not vote the same way it did in the Lok Sabha. "It's an evolving situation," he said.
The Congress and the Sena not being on the same page in the Lok Sabha is likely to draw the attention of the BJP. However, the BJP's experience with its former ally in Maharashtra may serve as an indication that the Sena's move in the Lok Sabha was not an unexpected behaviour. The Sena had criticised its ally on several issues regularly even when they were together.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi welcomed the support by Shiv Sena in the eleventh hour. "I am thankful to them. They have realised that it is in the best interest of the nation that they have supported it. As far as we are concerned, I had appealed to all the parties to support the government," he said.
On whether this thaw could be seen again in Maharashtra, Mr Joshi said, "That's a question you have to ask them (Sena)."