VHP campaign to reach out to MPs on Citizenship Bill

VHP campaign to reach out to MPs on Citizenship Bill

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) central general secretary Milind Parande speaks to the media, in Kolkata. (PTI Photo)

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad is set to launch a Citizenship (Amendment) Bill campaign to win the support of parliamentarians, especially TMC MPs, who are vehemently against the proposed legislation.

The VHP leadership has decided to kickstart the 'Sangsad Sampark Abhiyan' in New Delhi from November 25 to Dec 13, when MPs of both the Houses will be in attendance for the winter session of Parliament, VHP national assistant secretary Sachindranath Singha told PTI.

VHP functionaries from various parts of the country have already reached New Delhi for the campaign, he said. The aim of the 'Reach out to MPs' programme is to interact with the lawmakers and try to "convince" them to support the bill, said Singha, who is also the co-convenor of the campaign, said.

"The aim is to reach out to MPs cutting across party lines, especially the opposition lawmakers, to raise awareness about the need for CAB, highlight the plight of refugees and try to convince them to back the bill, whenever it is tabled in Parliament," he said.

The programme will also seek to raise awareness about building the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, following the recent Supreme Court verdict, the VHP leader said.

Singha said "special stress" will be on the TMC MPs who have been voicing their displeasure against the bill "just to appease" the minority vote bank.

"We would try to give special stress to those TMC MPs having their origins in Bangladesh, just like the lakhs of Bengalis who had moved to West Bengal during the Partition and Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

"Therefore, we expect that TMC lawmakers whose forefathers had come to India as refugees, will understand the plight of displaced people," Singha said.

Reacting to the VHP move, a senior TMC MP said it can meet lawmakers, but the ruling party in West Bengal is unlikely to change its stand on the contentious issue.

In the session that began on Monday, the government is set to push for the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, a key BJP plank which is aimed at granting nationality to non-Muslim immigrants from neighbouring countries.

The legislation seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan if they have fled their respective country due to religious persecution.

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had on Monday reiterated her opposition to the bill, terming it as a "trap" to exclude Hindus and Bengalis as legal citizens of the country.

The government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure as well, but could not push it through due to vehement protests by opposition parties.

The bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha. 

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