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Union home minister Amit Shah to table Bill in Rajya Sabha today
Union home minister Amit Shah to table Bill in Rajya Sabha today|Twitter
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Citizenship Bill in Rajya Sabha today: Will it make it this time?

BJP needs 121 to get the contentious legislation cleared in Upper House of Parliament. Will Shiv Sena and JD(U) ditch or support? 

Oineetom Ojah

After getting cleared in Lok Sabha on Monday, the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is all set to be tabled in Rajya Sabha (Upper House) on Wednesday.

Though the BJP-led NDA appears to have the required numbers to get the Bill cleared, it might not be a smooth sailing given the recent developments in the Shiv Sena and JD-U camps. Bill

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said that the Shiv Sena will not support the proposed legislation unless the party's queries in the Rajya Sabha were addressed.

Thackeray, who is also the Shiv Sena chief, told media persons on Tuesday that his party will not support the Bill unless things are cleared. Citizens’ doubts have to cleared. Unless that happens, they will not vote for the Bill, Thackery said.

Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) is a divided house. Soon after the party voted for the Bill in Lok Sabha on Monday, senior party leaders Prashant Kishor and Pavan Varma expressed their disappointment over the party's stand on the controversial legislation. It remains to be seen what the party decides on Wednesday.

The Bill will be tabled on Wednesday afternoon and six hours have been allotted for discussion on the Bill which seeks to give Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Widespread anger and outrage were seen across Northeast on Tuesday against the Bill as students and people took to the streets to protest against the Bill. Protests have started from morning on Wednesday. University and college students have taken to the streets to register their protest.

THE NUMBER GAME

NDA needs 121 to get the Bill cleared and on paper it has 129. Here is the break-up of the parties in the House.

The full strength of Rajya Sabha is 245 but the current strength is 240. This makes 121 the majority mark.

Here are the numbers in Rajya Sabha

BJP -- 83

Its NDA partners —

AIADMK -- 11

Lok Janshakti Partr (LJP) -- 1

Republican Party of India (Athawale) or (RPI-A) – 1

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) – 3

JD(U) -- 6

Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) -- 1

Bodoland People's Front (BPF) – 1

Paattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) -- 1

This adds up to a total of 108 (BJP + its allies).

Among non-NDA members which supported the Bill in the Lok Sabha are Biju Janata Dal (BJD) with 7 MPs, Shiv Sena has 3, YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) has 2, and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has 2. This would add up to 14 taking the total to 122.

Additionally, four of the six Independent MPs and three of the four nominated MPs are likely to support the Bill, which takes the number of those in favour of the bill, on paper, to 129.

But if Shiv Sena, JD (U) and AIADMK decide to reconsider its stand, BJP’s plans might suffer a setback.

As far as the opposition parties are considered, Congress has 46 MPs, Trinamool Congress (TMC) 13, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 4. Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) with 4 MPs, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), with five MPs, Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP)’s 9 and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s 3 MPs are also expected to oppose the Bill.

BJP was hoping to secure the support of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). However, the party opposed the Bill in the Lok Sabha and has said it will do so in the Rajya Sabha as well.