Citizenship bill: oppn parties to disseminate legislation, hold public meetings

NEW DELHI: With the government planning to present the Citizens Amendment Act (CAB) in Parliament next week, after the Cabinet approved it on Wednesday, opposition parties have decided to bring the content of the bill to people over the next five days across the country, so that they become aware of what the legislation on the ground means.

This was decided by opposition parties on Thursday when their room leaders met in the chamber of Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, even when the bill has not yet been officially distributed among parliamentarians before it is presented in the camera.

In addition to the Congress, the parties that were represented at the meeting included the Trinamool Congress, SP, NCP, CPM, CPI, AAP, DMK, among others.

Discussion points on the bill were shared among all parties present at the meeting to take it to people through public meetings, brochures, through the media, including social networks, it was decided. “It's not about numbers in Lok Sabha and more. It's about the heart and soul of India, TMC leader in Rajya Sabha Derek O'Brien said after the meeting. Without copies of the bill still circulated, O'Brien has written to the president of Rajya Sabha, M. Venkaiah Naidu Thursday to be given a copy of the bill.

BSP's supreme, Mayawati, had already expressed her opinion on Thursday morning against the proposed constitutional amendment needed by a two-thirds majority of both houses to approve it.

Shiv Sena, who had supported CAB's proposal as a BJP ally in the NDA previously, has not made his position clear on Thursday, as he has now approached the opposition camp. Sena leaders did not attend the informal meeting in Azad's chamber on Thursday.

The legislation proposes amending the Citizenship Act of 1955 so that illegal immigrants or refugees who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parisians and Christians from neighboring Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan are eligible for citizenship.

All parties have decided to meet again on Monday morning, before the government presents the legislation next week, and decide on the floor strategy they will adopt.