Shiv Sena’s Flip-Flop on CAB: ‘Aye’ in LS, Walkout in Rajya Sabha

After critiquing it in Saamana, Shiv Sena voted in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha on Monday.

3 min read

Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editor: Vivek Gupta

From ‘No’ to ‘Maybe’ to ‘Yes’, and then finally walking out of the Rajya Sabha during the voting – the Shiv Sena hopped from one stance to another on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in 48 hours.

The Rajya Sabha passed the Bill with 125 votes on Wednesday, 11 December, even as three MPs from the Shiv Sena staged a walkout.

The Shiv Sena, which voted in favour of the controversial Bill in Lok Sabha, opposed it in Rajya Sabha earlier in the day, saying the draft law should have been debated on the basis of "humanity not religion".

In his brief speech, senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said:

“Since yesterday I am hearing that those not supporting the Bill are traitors and are speaking the language of Pakistan. We don’t need any certificate to prove how patriotic we are and how staunch we are as Hindus. We are the headmaster of the school (of Hindutva) you study in. Our school headmaster was Bal Thackeray and Atal (Bihari Vajpayee) ji and Syama Prasad Mookerjee. We believe in them.”
Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena leader 

Mixed Signals

Just hours before the vote, Shiv Sena, in its mouthpiece Saamana had criticised the proposed Bill, saying it could lead to an “invisible partition” of Hindus and Muslims.

Minutes later, a tweet by Sanjay Raut contradicted the Saamana editorial and was probably a hint at the final outcome of the party voting in favour of the Bill. Tagging Home Minister Amit Shah, Raut tweeted, “Illegal Intruders should be thrown out. Immigrant Hindus must be given citizenship, but let's give rest to allegations of creating vote bank and not give them voting rights, what say? And yes what about pandits, have they gone back to kashmir after article 370 was removed?”

During the debate in the Lok Sabha on Monday, Sena MP Vinayak Raut said that while citizenship should be granted, such people should not get voting rights for 25 years.

He said that since the Northeast states have been exempted from the Citizenship Bill, the government must clarify which states the refugees would be rehabilitated in.


U-Turn in the Name of ‘National Interest’

On Tuesday, 10 December, Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant told NDTV that the party voted in favour of the Bill “in national interest.”

“We supported the Bill in the interest of the nation. The CMP (common minimum programme) is applicable in Maharashtra only.”

The Common Minimum Programme is the understanding that helped the ideologically disparate Shiv Sena, Congress and Nationalist Congress Party to seal the ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ and take power in Maharashtra.

Sawant’s argument that the CMP only applies to Maharashtra does not hold true since the preamble of the understanding clearly states the three parties will take joint view on issues “having repercussions on secular fabric of nation”. Both Congress and NCP voted against the CAB in Lok Sabha on Monday.

‘Vote May Change in Rajya Sabha’

The Bill goes to vote in Rajya Sabha on 11 December, where the Sena has 3 MPs. Speaking on the issue, Sena Chief and Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray said, “Won't support Bill till we get clarity on questions asked by Shiv Sena.”

The Sena has suggested changes it wants to be included in the Bill in Rajya Sabha, he said. "Where will these refugees stay.. in which state. All this should be clarified," he added.

"We raised some questions but they were not answered.

“We need to change notion that one who backs CAB and BJP is patriot. It is an illusion that only the BJP cares for the country.”
Uddhav Thackeray

Raut, too hinted on Wednesday that the party might vote against the bill.

“We have to clear our doubts on this bill. If we don't get satisfactory answers, then our stand could be different from what we took in Lok Sabha,” Raut said, speaking to the media.

“Votebank politics is not right, you are trying to create Hindu-Muslim divide in country yet again, leave it,” he said, adding that there was nothing in the Bill for Tamil Hindus of Sri Lanka.

Sanjay Raut tweeted on Tuesday, “Politics is an evolving situation” hinting that their stance may change in the Rajya Sabha.

According to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till 31 December 2014, due to religious persecution, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but be given Indian citizenship.

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