New Delhi: The Shiv Sena’s indication that it would back the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) has raised eyebrows in the top leadership of the Congress, which is part of the Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) coalition government in Maharashtra. The Sharad Pawar-led NCP is opposed to the bill like the Congress.
Sources in top Congress leadership told this newspaper that they are mulling placing a call to Maharashtra chief minster and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in order to clarify the party’s stand.
Sena MP Arvind Sawant had said on Wednesday: “We will support the bill as it is against infiltrators and will also help give citizenship rig-hts to persecuted Hindus, Jains and Buddhists living in Pakis-tan and Bangladesh. The bill should not be misused, that is the only thing.”
It might be recalled that the formation of a government in Maharashtra by these three parties had been stalled over the inclusion of a guarantee to follow “secular” credentials of the Constitution by the Shiv Sena, which is known as a Hindutva party and had been one of the earlier allies of the BJP. Subseq-uently, the word “secular” had been mentioned in very first paragraph of the Common Minimum Programme thrashed out by these parties.
The matter is also understood to have been discussed at a meeting of Opposition parties on Thursday afternoon in which many leaders opined that the Shiv Sena could vote whichever way it wanted to, but the Opposition should focus on building the correct narrative for the bill.
The meeting was held at Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad’s office in Parlia-ment and was attended by almost all Opposition parties such as the Trinamul Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Samajwadi Party, NCP and the Left.
Sources said that Congress leader from Assam Ripun Bora was asked to brief the Opposition leaders on the bill “to give a correct perspective”.