After announcing support, Sena skips voting on CAB

The three MPs of Shiv Sena, which announced its opposition to the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill after supporting it in Lok Sabha, were absent during the voting on the proposed legislation even as government sailed through as expected.

Government bagged 125 votes while the Opposition got 105 subject to correction, Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said in the House after the voting. However, Rajya Sabha Secretariat sources said the actual count was 125-99.

The government was expected to get 128, the Opposition was expected to get 112 votes, including three from Shiv Sena. From the ruling side, BJP's Anil Baluni and C H Gohel and independent Amar Singh were absent.

The 13 absentees from the Opposition ranks, included two from NCP Majid Memon and Vandana Chavan, Samajwadi Party's Beni Prasad Verma, Trinamool Congress' K D Singh, independent M P Veerendrakumar, two BSP MPs Rajaram and Ashok, JDS' Kupendra Reddy and Congress' Mukut Mithi among others.

NCP leaders said Memon is unwell while Chavan has marriage in her family. Veerendra Kumar and Verma were also absent due to ill health.

Defending the decision not to participate in the vote, Sena leader Sanjay Raut said his party and he felt that "when answers are not given properly, then it is not right to either support or oppose the Bill." Raut and his party colleagues went out of the House much before the voting.

During his reply to the debate on the Bill, Home Minister Amit Shah targeted BJP's erstwhile ally Sena saying that he was surprised that the Uddhav Thackeray-led party "changed colours" for grabbing power. "They supported the Bill in Lok Sabha. I don't know what happened what changed in a night that they had to change their stand," Shah said.

While there were three absentees for the ruling side, they finally managed to convince Asom Gana Parishad and Sikkim Democratic Front. SDF MP Hishey Lachungpa said during the debate that he would oppose the Bill if the government does not assure that the special protection it gets under Article 371(F) will not be touched and after Shah responded in positive, he voted in favour.

At least 13 parties that voted for the BJP-led NDA, including non-allies BJD, YSR Congress and TDP. Others included AIADMK and Naga People Front.

MPs from 16 parties, including Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPI(M), CPI, TRS, Muslim League, Kerala Congress (M) and PDP among others voted against the Bill.

Several amendments were moved by Opposition MPs which were defeated. The motion to send the Bill to a Select Committee moved by CPI(M)'s K K Ragesh was defeated by 99-124 with one abstention.

Voting on Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien's amendment was defeated 98-124 while DMK's Tiruchi Siva lost another by 99-124 and CPI(M) Elamarom Kareem lost 98-124.

Later, when O'Brien was called to move a different amendment, he said, "apparently it is clear where the majority is but it is also clear where the morality is." Nominated member K T S Tulsi also did not move his amendment saying it is an "exercise in futility".

Members like Samajwadi Party's Javed Ali Khan, Congress' M V Rajeev Gowda, Husain Dalwai and Ronald Sapa Tlau (all Congress), T K Rangarajan and K Somaprasad (CPIM), Abdul Wahab (Muslim League), Sukhendu Shekhar Roy and Binoy Vishwam (CPI) also moved amendments.

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