Opposition lying on Land Bill: Modi

Through “Mann Ki Baat,” PM reaches out to farmers

Updated - November 16, 2021 05:30 pm IST

Published - March 23, 2015 01:33 am IST - New Delhi

The BJP-led NDA government’s determination to get its version of the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill through in the second half of the budget session that commences on April 20 was apparent on Sunday: Prime Minister Narendra Modi used his monthly “Mann Ki Baat” broadcast to address farmers, accusing the Opposition of spreading “lies” about the changes the government plans to make in the 2013 Land Act for “political reasons” to create confusion.

This drew a sharp response from a battery of Congress leaders ranging from party president Sonia Gandhi’s Political Secretary Ahmed Patel, to former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh to its communications chief Randeep Surjewala.

With a majority of opposition parties mounting a united battle against the controversial Bill, the Prime Minister kicked off his party’s campaign on the issue, one that will see Central Ministers and BJP MPs using both the social media as well as direct contact with their constituents to try and change the perception of rural India on this Bill.

Land Bill will push rural industrialisation: Modi

For Narendra Modi, who reached out to farmers through the “Mann Ki Baat” broadcast on Sunday, his efforts to get the Land ordinance converted into an Act of Parliament could not have come at a worse moment: if the Opposition, led by the Congress, has got a head start in critiquing the changes planned by the government, and in painting them as “anti-farmer,” it has also coincided with unseasonal rains that have destroyed crops and rising prices of fertilizers. Thus far, the government has failed to address any of these issues satisfactorily, helping the Opposition to portray the government as ill-disposed to farmers.

Mr. Modi said government wanted to plug the “lacunae” in the 2013 Act. But on the issues of social impact assessment and consent — that the new Bill has dispensed with — he had interesting explanations. The first had been done away with to protect farmers from red tape, he said; on the second, he said no one could take away land without consent. admitting a second later that consent was not necessary for public-private partnership projects. “Brothers and sisters, do we want farmers’ children to be compelled to settle in the slums of Mumbai and Delhi,” he said, making a case for industrialisation in rural areas.

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