Prime Minister Narendra Modi was addressing the BJP leaders in New Delhi (File)
On the day when the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill is to be tabled in Rajya Sabha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said the legislation will be written in golden letters. The Prime Minister also said that the Opposition is speaking the language of Pakistan on the Bill, news agency PTI reported, quoting sources.
Addressing BJP parliamentary party meeting in New Delhi, Modi likened the Bill to the government's decision to nullify Article 370 and said it will provide permanent relief to minorities of neighbouring countries who arrived in India fleeing religious persecution.
The Bill, which was cleared with a 311-80 margin in the Lok Sabha on Monday, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Jains and Parsis — leaving out Muslims — who entered the country from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh until December 31, 2014.
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After the legislation was passed in the lower house of Parliament, Modi had tweeted, saying the legislation was "in line with India’s centuries-old ethos of assimilation and belief in humanitarian values." He had also applauded Union Home Minister Amit Shah for “lucidly” explaining all aspects of the Bill.
The Bill will be taken up in Rajya Sabha today for discussion. Despite reservations from Opposition, the Centre is confident of the bill making it through the upper house. While government sources said they were confident of getting the Bill through, Opposition members said they would “make them bleed” with the TMC alone planning to move 20 amendments.
With a current strength of 240, the majority mark in the upper house is 121. While parties like AIADMK, the Akali Dal have extended their support to the legislation, there are murmurs of dissent within BJP's alliance partner JD(U). Sources in Patna said the JD(U) is unlikely to change its stance in the Rajya Sabha where it has six MPs.
BJP's former ally Shiv Sena, which had backed the Bill in Lok Sabha, said it would withdraw the support in the Rajya Sabha if its queries are not addressed by the government. The Sena has three MPs in the Upper House.