The Shiv Sena stayed out of the Rajya Sabha when the House was voting on the Citizenship Amendment Bill on Wednesday evening. Party MP Sanjay Raut told ANI that the Shiv Sena “boycotted” the voting as “it is not right to either support or oppose the bill when answers are not given properly” by the government.
Another party MP, Anil Desai, confirmed the same to PTI.
The Upper House cleared the bill on Wednesday evening, with 125 votes in favour and 105 against. The Shiv Sena has three members in the Rajya Sabha.
On Monday, the Shiv Sena’s 18 members in the Lok Sabha had voted in favour of the bill, despite speaking against it during the debate. On Tuesday, Shiv Sena President and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray changed his stance again, saying his party would not support the bill unless “things are clear”. He said the party would back the amendments only if the government accepts its suggestion to allow those who get citizenship under the provisions to get voting rights only after 25 years.
Speaking during the Rajya Sabha debate earlier on Wednesday, Sanjay Raut said that the proposed amendments should have been debated on the basis of “humanity, not religion”. He said the party does not need any lesson on nationalism as “the headmaster of our school is Balasaheb Thackeray”.
Later, he clarified his stance to ANI: “We didn’t say that the refugees shouldn’t be granted citizenship, they should be given. But we said that if it’s a conspiracy for vote bank politics and allegations are being levelled against you, then they should not be granted voting rights for 25 years.”
The Shiv Sena had long been an ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, but left the alliance last month due to a power tussle following Assembly elections in Maharashtra. The party then formed a government in the state with Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party, both of which are ideologically opposite to its stance on Hindutva.