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On Land Acquisition Bill, Opposition and Allies unite

United opposition will create hurdles for the government for the passage of Land Acquisition Bill in Rajya Sabha.

LandThe NDA government had managed to pass the Land Acquisition Bill with nine amendments in the Lok Sabha but will find it difficult to clear the bill in Rajya Sabha due to lack of numbers. The bill is facing stiff resistance from opposition parties like Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPI(M), Janata Dal (United), Samjawadi Party, Nationalist Congress Party and Aam Aadmi Party.

Even the BJP ally Swabhimani Shetkari Sangathana had termed the bill as anti-farmer and has asked the government to reconsider its stand on the bill. The SSS has threatened to quit the alliance if the government goes ahead with the controversial legislation. “There are some clauses in the bill that clearly benefit private corporates more than the farmers. I will continue to oppose these issues because they are totally against the farmers” said Raju Shetti, chief of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana.

Even Shiv Sena too had mentioned in its mouthpiece Saamna that the party won’t support a bill which stands against farmer.
“BJP has been unsuccessful in solving farmers’ issues,” the editorial said.

When the bill was passed in Lok Sabha, Sena abstained from voting. Sena’s decision is significant at a time when almost the entire Opposition is ranged against the controversial legislation which the Congress and other parties are accusing to be “pro-corporate” and “anti-farmers”.

Republican Party of India (Athawale) Chief Ramdas Athawale said the government cannot acquire a piece of land without the consent of farmers.

“Even if the consent clause and the requirement of a social impact assessments before notification of the acquisition is done away with, the consent of farmer (owning the land) is very important. Development cannot happen at the cost of farmers,” Athawale, a Rajya Sabha member said.

“The government needs to ensure that if the land acquired by farmers is not put to use within a period of three years, it is returned to the farmer. It is of utmost importance to work in the interest of farmers,” he said.

The Congress had protested against the Land Acquisition bill. Raising slogans of ‘Kisan Virodhi Narendra Modi (farmers’ opponent Modi)’ against the Prime Minister, party workers led by senior leaders Jairam Ramesh, Raj Babbar, Randeep Surjewala and Youth Congress’s Amrinder Singh Raja Brar took out a protest march at Jantar Mantar.

Opposing the Land Acquisition bill brought by the BJP-led central government, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) said the only aim of the proposed law was to grab the farmers` land and help land grabbers.

BKU is an Indian farmers` representative organization affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh — of which the Bharatiya Janata Party is deemed as the political wing.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad termed the ordinance as an attempt to weaken the Food Security law passed by the UPA government.

“You continue protesting outside the Parliament, we will try not let the bill get passed when it is introduced in the Parliament,” the Leader of Congress in the Rajya Sabha said.

“We are not talking about changing the shape of the bill. We are not for any amendment of the bill. We want this bill to go lock, stock and barrel,” he said.

On the other hand, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar expressed confidence that the amended Land Acquisition Bill will be passed by the Rajya Sabha this week.

“We are in constant touch with the opposition parties including Congress, and are hopeful that Land Acquisition Bill will come before Rajya Sabha and things will get sorted out,” Prakash Javadekar said.

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