Security personnel fire in the air during a protest march against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, at Bokel, in Dibrugarh on 11 December
Security personnel fire in the air during a protest march against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, at Bokel, in Dibrugarh on 11 December | PTI
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JD(U) MP says party stand on citizenship bill ‘ludicrous’

That not everybody in the JD(U) is happy with the party supporting the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which has now become an Act with the President’s assent, in Parliament is hardly a secret.

While leaders like Pavan Varma and Prashant Kishor have openly spoken out against Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar, asking him to reconsider his decision, some others are doing it quietly, although passionately. 

At a lunch thrown by a senior politician earlier this week — attended by leaders cutting across party lines — a senior JD(U) leader and MP was asked by journalists why his party was backing the bill.

Visibly agitated, the MP said he has no answer given how “ludicrous” his party’s stand was. He then went on to say that just as Pakistan’s former lieutenant-general A.A.K. Niazi had surrendered to the Indian Army in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War despite his retinue of soldiers, the JD(U) was also surrendering to the BJP despite its strength in the Bihar assembly.

Congress MPs felt left out in Rajya Sabha

In Rajya Sabha, several Congress MPs are lawyers — from Kapil Sibal, P. Chidambaram to Abhishek Singhvi and Vivek Tankha. Then, there are senior leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma and, of course, Manmohan Singh. With so many party leaders speaking on the the citizenship bill in Parliament, many MPs were heard cribbing about how they felt left out. They complained that the time allotted to the Congress to debate on the issue was entirely consumed by the party’s senior leaders.

Only in Assam — once a student, always a student

Assam has been on the boil following the passage of the citizenship bill, and much like the 1979’s Assam Movement, the latest protests are also being largely led by student groups. The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and its chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya have been at the forefront of slamming the citizenship Act. The irony, however, is that despite AASU being a student outfit, Bhattacharya is well into his fifties.

Congress’ confusing stand on capital punishment

Following the rape-murder of a young veterinary doctor in Hyderabad, Parliament witnessed heated debates on the issue of women safety, with several MPs advocating capital punishment, chemical castration and even public lynching as punishment for rape. Congress members were among those who demanded such severe punishment. But one Congress Rajya Sabha MP, Pradip Tamta, moved a private member bill to abolish capital punishment. Following this, a BJP minister quipped that in the Congress, one arm doesn’t know what other the arm is doing.

(Contributors: Shanker Arnimesh and Ruhi Tewari)

Also read: BJP leaders want JNU shut down, but Team Modi has its share of university’s alumni


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