Citizenship Bill likely next week

Urging discipline: Rajnath Singh after the BJP parliamentary party meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Urging discipline: Rajnath Singh after the BJP parliamentary party meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: PTI


BJP cracks whip; Rajnath Singh asks MPs to ensure their presence in Parliament

BJP MPs were warned against absenteeism by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at the parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday.

He said the presence of MPs was to be strictly ensured as the government would be tabling the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) next week. The Bill is expected to be cleared by the Cabinet on Wednesday.

Mr. Singh was presiding over the meeting as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was away in Jharkhand for election campaign. He underscored the importance of the CAB, saying it was “as important” as the set of legislation that nullified provisions of Article 370 the last session.


Absenteeism and curbing the use of unparliamentary language were also flagged by Mr. Singh, who said Mr. Modi had expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of attendance by the party MPs.

Sources said Mr. Singh also rejected the Opposition’s criticism of the CAB, which seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they faced religious persecution there. He asserted that the BJP “has always worked to unite the country and its people”.

The Minister also made a reference to the charge that the Bill was against secularism as its beneficiaries excluded Muslims.

“The three neighbouring countries were essentially Islamic nations, and so it is non-Muslims and not Muslims who are at the receiving end of religious persecution there,” sources reported the Defence Minister as saying, while asking the MPs to be present in full strength when Home Minister Amit Shah tables the Bill.

A significant portion of Mr Singh’s address also referred to cautioning BJP MPs against using unparliamentary language during their intervention in Parliament and said they should be aggressive in countering the Opposition but not go to the extent of what the Congress, the BJP’s main rival, does.


His remarks came against the backdrop of party MP Pragya Thakur being forced to apologise in the Lok Sabha for her comments on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse. The BJP subsequently barred her from attending its parliamentary party meeting during the ongoing session. She was not present at Tuesday’s meeting. 

Woman and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani, in her address, highlighted the efforts of her ministry in fighting malnutrition among pregnant women and infants, and said it had organised a record 3.5 lakh events in a month in this regard. 

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 4:58:44 AM |

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