Published On : Wed, Dec 11th, 2019

Citizenship bill faces crucial RS test today

The controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will be tabled in Rajya Sabha Wednesday afternoon, two days after the legislation was passed by the Lok Sabha.

The CAB, which has sharply divided discourse in the country, will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha around 2 pm. This is expected to be followed by a debate in the Upper House, which, considering Monday’s Lok Sabha discussion, could be fiery and heated.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party is confident of getting the Bill passed in Rajya Sabha as well, the numbers game could prove to be tough. During the last Parliament session, which took place before the Lok Sabha elections, the government ended up not bringing the Bill in the Upper House even though it had been passed by the Lok Sabha.

The chief opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is that it discriminates on the basis of religion by identifying only non-Muslims refugees as those who would be eligible for Indian citizenship.

While the BJP and its allies in the National Democratic Alliance enjoy an overwhelming majority in the lower house that helped it get 311 votes in favour of the bill, and 80 against in the lower house, the party’s hold on the Rajya Sabha is wobblier.

With a current strength of 240, the majority mark in the upper house is 121. The NDA, which includes parties like AIADMK, Janata Dal-United and the Akali Dal, has 116 members and expects the support of 14 others, taking its numbers to 130.

The 14 includes three members of the Shiv Sena, a former BJP ally that voted in favour of the Bill in the Lok Sabha but has said its support in the Rajya Sabha is not certain. Even if the Sena abstains, the BJP will not have reason to worry as it will bring down the majority mark.