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Cong leader Khan slams Sena for supporting CAB in Lok Sabha

Press Trust of India  |  Mumbai 

Senior Congress leader Arif Mohammed Naseem Khan on Tuesday criticised the Shiv Sena for supporting the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha, saying the saffron outfit has violated the common minimum programme of the coalition government in Maharashtra.

The Sena, which has snapped ties with the BJP, heads the Maha Vikas Agadhi government, in which the Congress and the Sharad Pawar-led NCP are the other two key constituents.

The three ideologically incompatible parties have formulated a common minimum programme (CMP), centred around themes of development and employment, to run the government.

Khan, a former minister, termed the Sena's support for the bill in the Lower House of Parliament as "unethical".

"The way Shiv Sena has supported the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), which is an attack on the Constitution and democracy, without taking their coalition partners in Maharashtra into confidence, is unethical.

"This show the Shiv Sena has not followed the CMP and has supported the BJP indirectly," the Congress leader said.

Khan demanded that the Shiv Sena clarify its stand on the issue.

After supporting the legislation in the Lower House, Shiv Sena president and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said he would not back the Bill in the Rajya Sabha till there was a clarity on questions raised by his party in the Lok Sabha.

However, another Congress leader, Charan Singh Sapra, said the Sena's support to the bill won't affect the MVA government.

"Uddhav Thackeray's statement that the 'BJP perception that whoever supports the bill is a patriot and whoever votes against is a 'deshdrohi' (traitor) is mere illusion', is a welcome statement," Sapra said.

"The Sena has suggested some amendments in the bill and raised a few apprehensions. Thackeray has also said if their queries are not answered, then they might vote against the bill in the Rajya Sabha," he said.

The Mumbai Congress vice-president said the Sena has all the rights to have a different view on the bill, but this will in no way impact the three-party coalition government in Maharashtra.

The bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after facing religious persecution there, was passed in the Lok Sabha a little past midnight on Monday.

Sapra said the Congress is opposing the bill on the ground that it has made religion the basis for providing citizenship.

"The Maha Vikas Aghadi is working as per the CMP which is a framework to carry out progressive work in Maharashtra. Development and employment in all sectors is our priority," he said.

Sapra said the Thackeray-led party had differed with the BJP on a range of issues even when it was part of the NDA government.

"They differed with the BJP on land acquisition bill, demonetisation, GST, Metro carshed at Aarey Colony, bullet train project," he said.

The BJP's alliance partner in Bihar, the JD(U), has divergent views on triple talaq and NRC (National Register of Citizens), Sapra said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, December 10 2019. 20:55 IST