Shiv Sena, which is heading the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in an alliance with the NCP and Congress in Maharashtra, has voted for the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The saffron party said it has done so in the larger interest of the nation.

It was party’s turn around as till Monday morning it had criticised the Centre of attempting an “invisible partition” of Hindus and Muslims. In a sharp editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, the Shiv Sena has also questioned whether “selective acceptance” of Hindu illegal immigrants will act as a trigger for a religious war in the country.

By supporting the Bill, Shiv Sena MPs indicated that the party will not compromise on Hindutva. This is despite Shiv Sena with NCP and Congress expressed commitment in their common minimum programme to uphold the secular values enshrined in the Constitution.

Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, who quit the Narendra Modi led cabinet after party’s decision to ally with NCP and Congress for government formation in Maharashtra, clarified that the common minimum programme arrived among three parties is for Maharashtra only.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was cleared by the Lok Sabha at the stroke of midnight after heated discussions on Monday, with 311 voting in support and 80 against. 

Earlier, Shiv Sena had demanded that the non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after becoming Indian citizens should not be giving voting right for 25 years.