The bill holds significance since the BJP leadership equates it with the Centre’s move to nullify Article 370 that gave special status to the erstwhile state of J&K

NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi government is likely to clear on Wednesday the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 during a meeting of the Union Cabinet, which is currently underway in the national capital. The crucial meeting began around 9.30 am at the Parliament House Annexe building.

According to reports, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been holding hectic parleys with his Cabinet colleagues, top political leaders and activists from the Northeastern states, including the chief minister of Mizoram, over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

During one such meeting, which was called on Tuesday and concluded in the wee hour of Wednesday, a consensus has reportedly evolved on the bill and the same may be cleared by the Union Cabinet.

Speaking about the discussions held in the meeting, North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convener and Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that Shah had also met representatives of different north-east states and Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga.

After the Union Cabinet nod, the Home Minister may introduce the bill in the Parliament in the last week of the ongoing Winter Session. Shah, who has been conducting meeting over the Bill for the past few days, has held discussions with different stakeholders for over 100 hours.

During his meetings, the Home Minister spoke about different provisions of the Bill and tried to clear the confusion about its various aspects.

The bill holds significance since the BJP leadership equates it with the Centre’s move to nullify Article 370 that gave special status to the erstwhile state of J&K

Speaking on the issue, Defence Minister and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh recently urged his party MPs to be present in large numbers when Home Minister Amit Shah tables the bill in Parliament.

During a meeting of BJP parliamentary party, Singh also touche upon the issue of absenteeism among BJP MPs from Parliament. The veteran politician also stressed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his dissatisfaction over lack of their adequate presence many times.

Rejecting the opposition’s criticism of the Citizenship Bill, which seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they faced religious persecution there, Singh asserted that the BJP has always worked to unite the country and its people.

Singh also cautioned the party MPs against using unparliamentary words during their intervention in Parliament and said they should be aggressive in countering the opposition but not go to the extent of what the Congress, the BJP’s main rival, does.

His remarks came against the backdrop of party MP Pragya Thakur being forced to apologise in the Lok Sabha for her comments on Mahatma Gandhi’s killer Nathuram Godse.

The BJP subsequently barred her from attending its parliamentary party meeting during the ongoing session.