United Opposition takes out march

Requests President not to allow government’s amendments

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:31 pm IST

Published - March 17, 2015 05:53 pm IST - New Delhi

In a move that could unnerve the Narendra Modi government, Members of Parliament from 14 Opposition parties buried their differences to put up a united front against the NDA’s proposed land law and marched from Parliament house to Rashtrapati Bhawan on Tuesday evening.

The protest march took the stiff resistance to the Bill from inside Parliament and brought it to full public glare on the street, albeit the heavily sanitised Raisina Hill. The MPs, led by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, marched out of Parliament shouting “Take back the black law.” Ms. Gandhi said the Opposition had “requested the President to intervene and not allow the government to go ahead with the amendments.”

The Opposition parties petitioning the President assumes increased significance since the government is mulling re-promulgation of the December 2014 land ordinance in case the Bill is not passed by the Rajya Sabha. Ms. Gandhi said the Opposition would not allow the Bill to be passed in the Upper House where the BJP-led ruling alliance is in a minority.

“All progressive, secular and democratic forces are determined to defeat the Modi government’s design to promote divisions and social disharmony,” Ms. Gandhi told reporters. “We are here to oppose the government’s amendments to the right to fair compensation and transparency in land acquisition law.”

The government tried to put up a brave front in the face of the protest that saw archrivals such as the Left and the Trinamool Congress unite against the government. “All parties are together today. This is a historic march. I hope the Modi government is watching this march,” TMC leader Derek O’Brien said. The BSP, BJD and the AIADMK did not join the march. “The BSP is with the Opposition, but said it would not be a part of the march,” a senior Congress leader said.

“Protesting against the Bill and marching up to meet the President is their democratic right, but the Opposition is showing its confusion by opposing this Bill. There is no confusion in the government. The land Bill is pro-farmer and pro-development,” Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar abbas Naqvi told The-Hindu. “They have come out on the street to walk after a long time. Let them walk a little,” he said.

The march had come as a booster for the Congress party’s morale as it was able to rally Opposition parties around the land Bill, said party leaders present on the occasion.

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