The meetings of the joint parliamentary committee examining the controversial Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Second Bill 2015 are all set to enter a crucial stage this week, with voting commencing on the government-sponsored amendments to the 2013 Act.
Sources in the committee told The Hindu that of the 30 members on the panel, the 11 BJP members will definitely vote for all the amendments, while 14 are likely to vote against them. Of the 14, 10 will definitely vote against them – they belong to the Congress (5), Trinamool Congress (2), CPI(M) (1), Janata Dal(United) (1) and Bahujan Samaj Party (1).
Four more MPs have thus far expressed their opposition to the amendments in meetings of the committee – they are from Shiv Sena (1), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (1), Samajwadi Party (1) and Nationalist Congress Party (1). The 10 MPs mentioned earlier are banking on the support of these four MPs.
That leaves five MPs on the panel who are yet to clarify their position – they are from NDA allies Telugu Desam Party and Lok Janshakti Party (one each), the AIADMK, the Biju Janata Dal and the YSR Congress (one each).
Given that 14 MPs are likely to vote against the amendments, the government will have to ensure the support of all five of these MPs to secure a majority of 16 in the panel.
Opposition sources pointed out, for instance, that the LJP, with Assembly elections ahead in Bihar where the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress will make an issue of the Land Bill, might find itself in a tight spot – to go with the Modi government of which it is a part or oppose it.
Opposition sources also added that even if the BJP succeeds in persuading a majority on the joint panel to support the amendments, it could still come a cropper in the Rajya Sabha, where the numbers still remain stacked against the government on this Bill.
In the panel, 20 members are from the Lok Sabha, 10 from the Rajya Sabha.
Meanwhile, letters from the various chief secretaries to whom BJP MP SS Ahluwalia had written on behalf of the panel to seek the opinion of the States have begun to pour in.Cong.-ruled Statesstick to their guns
It is learnt that all nine Congress-ruled States have written to the committee, opposing the government-sponsored amendments. These States are Karnataka, Assam, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, and Mizoram.
All this comes close on the heels of the vast majority of the groups and individuals who have met the committee opposing the amendments to the Bill. The pressure on the government to concede ground, therefore, continues. This is especially as these groups include RSS front organisations such as the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, etc.