NEW DELHI, Feb 11 - With just two days to go before the Budget Session of Parliament comes to an end, the NDA government is yet to evolve a consensus over placing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 for discussion and passage in Rajya Sabha.
Battlelines have been drawn between the Opposition parties and the ruling NDA even as Rajya Sabha remained paralysed on Monday as well. The Budget Session is scheduled to end on Wednesday and the government is yet to get the President’s address and the Interim Budget passed in the Upper House.
The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) that was scheduled to meet on Monday was postponed. The BAC is now expected to meet on Tuesday morning when the government is likely to divulge the list of business, said Bhubaneswar Kalita, who is a member of the BAC.
The possibility of placing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday appears slim as the government has decided to bring the triple talak Bill for discussion and passage. With this, there will be only one day left for the government to place the Citizenship Bill on Wednesday, the last day of the current session.
The Rajya Sabha was adjourned on Monday on multiple reasons, including political killings in West Bengal, Rafale deal, special status for Andhra Pradesh and spurious liquor deaths in Uttar Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the NDA government is playing its cards close to its chest and has not even taken its own MPs into confidence. A BJP MP said that they were given to understand that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is likely to come up in Rajya Sabha on February 12-13.
Talking to this newspaper, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said a final decision whether or not to push the Bill in the Upper House is yet to be taken. “Our people are talking to various parties and we will take a decision shortly,” he added.
Rijiju also hinted that the government is assessing the mood of the people in the Northeast. “We have to also take a view about the situation in the Northeast,” he added.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also opened his own channel of communication with the MPs from the northeastern region and BPF MP Biswajit Daimary was among those MPs who were consulted.
Daimary said that he has cautioned the Home Minister about rising temper in the Northeast over the issue disturbing the peace that has returned to the region after a long gap. “If the Bill is passed it will be a setback because whatever progress has been made in the last 30-40 years will go in vain,” he said.
AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya, too, had aired similar sentiment earlier when he said that “if the government forcefully passes the Bill then alienation of the Northeast will be complete and mentally the region will get further alienated from India.”
BJP national president Amit Shah had said that the Bill would be brought in Rajya Sabha “only if there is a consensus”. He said the government was speaking to all parties, both within the NDA and outside, in the wake of the controversy in the Northeast over the Bill, and trying to evolve a consensus.
While several organisations and parties have landed in the national capital to lobby against the Bill, Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is also here keeping in touch with top leaders of the BJP.
A joint delegation of the All Assam Students’ Union and North East Students’ Organisation on Monday met Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Javed Ali Khan and requested him to oppose the Bill. He assured the delegation that the SP will oppose and vote against the Bill. The SP has 13 MPs in Rajya Sabha.
The delegation also called on Janata Dal (United) leader KC Tyagi the second time in two weeks and pleaded that they should oppose the Bill.
The delegation later called on Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who is also camping in the national capital. Sangma called NCP leader Praful Patel and sought his party’s help. The NCP is also going to vote against the Bill, newsmen were told.
Meanwhile, Prasanna Kumar Patasani of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has assured that their party will oppose the Bill, said Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) advisor Akhil Gogoi.