NEW DELHI: JD(U) parliamentary party leader
on Tuesday denied suggestions of a split in the ranks over support to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, scoffing at the argument of a couple of his colleagues that by siding with the government over the controversial legislation, the party had undermined its ‘secularism’ plank.
Hours after retired diplomat and former general secretary Pawan Varma and poll strategist and former vice-president
publicly criticised JD(U)’s vote for the CAB, Singh questioned their argument that the bill was at odds with ‘secularism’. “This bill has got nothing to do with secularism. It is aimed at providing relief to a broader group of religious minorities facing persecution in Pakistan,
and Afghanistan. It is a specific legislation for a specific group and by no stretch of imagination can be called communal,” he said.
Singh, who spoke forcefully for the bill in
on Monday, further said the legislation did not hurt Indian Muslims in any way.
Early on, Varma had disagreed with the party’s stand. “I urge
to reconsider support to the CAB in
. The bill is unconstitutional, discriminatory and against the unity and harmony of the country, apart from being against the secular principles of JD(U). Gandhiji would have strongly disapproved it,” Varma, also the party’s national spokesman, tweeted.
On Monday night, while the bill was being put to vote in Lok Sabha, Kishor had tweeted, “Disappointed to see JD(U) supporting CAB that discriminates right of citizenship on the basis of religion. It is incongruous with the party’s constitution that carries the word secular thrice on the very first page and the leadership that is supposedly guided by Gandhian ideals.”
JD(U)’s leader in Lok Sabha Singh made light of suggestions that the party was divided on the issue. “The party’s stand is not decided by intellectuals who have not toiled on the ground to build it from scratch. It is also not decided by those who are careerists and keep bringing their business interests into play. People should not mix their commercial considerations with the political interests of the party,” Singh told TOI.