The AIADMK, the JDU and BPF on Wednesday extended their support to the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, that seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Earlier, some reports had claimed that these two parties may actually ditch the government in the upper house after supporting it in the Lok Sabha.
Speaking during the debate over the bill in the Rajya Sabha, JDU leader Ram Chandra Prasad Singh said that the CAB was not against the Muslims in India. "We support this bill. The bill is very clear, it gives citizenship to persecuted minorities from three of our neigbouring countries, but here debate is being done on our Indian Muslim brothers," he said.
From AIADMK, SR Balasubramaniyan spoke in favour of the bill. He said that the AIADMK supports the bill, but also demanded that the Centre must add Muslims in the list. The constroversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill has already cleared the Lok Sabha. Even though the ruling NDA alliance lacks majority in the Rajya Sabha, the government said that it was confident of passage of the bill.
With a current strength of 240, the majority mark in the Rajya Sabha is 121. The BJP has 83 members in Rajya Sabha. BJP's allies AIADMK, JD(U) and Akali Dal have 11, six and three members respectively in the Upper House. Four independents and three nominated members besides a number of regional parties ( LJP, RPI-A, PMK, AGP, BPF and NPF) with one member each are expected to back the bill. Regional parties like the BJD with seven MPs, and YSR Congress and the TDP with 2 each are also backing the bill.
The opposition camp includes Congress, TMC, Samajwadi Party, TRS, the Left, DMK, Bahujan Samaj Party, RJD and NCP with 46, 13, nine, six, six, five, four, four and four respectively. The support of PDP, KCM, IUML, MDMK, independents and nominated MPs takes their total to 105. The Aam Aadmi Party and JD(S) with three MPs and one MP respectively, are also expected to vote against the Bill.