Govt. fails to soften Opposition on Land Bill

Updated - April 02, 2016 08:55 am IST

Published - March 09, 2015 04:24 pm IST - New Delhi

Despite the government declaring on Monday that is was willing to climb down from its position and amend the Land Acquisition Bill, the Opposition parties led by the Congress remained aggressive and combative in opposing the Bill.

The Opposition parties dubbed the Bill as draconian and anti-poor as Rural Development Minister Birender Singh moved the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill 2015 for consideration and passing in the Lok Sabha.

Hours before Mr. Singh moved the Bill, he met Opposition party leaders along with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu.

Mr. Naidu said: “We held a consultation with the Opposition and told them that the government is open to reasonable suggestions. We are willing to bring certain amendments but can’t discuss them here since Parliament is in session.” He said the government was in the mood to accommodate what is the ‘popular view.’ The government’s suggestion was however rejected by most Opposition parties. “They should first go and convince the Prime Minister who is not willing to budge from his position,” a Congress leader said. A JD(U) leader revealed that the Opposition parties asked the government to send the Bill and the amendments to the standing committee spurning the conciliation effort.

Hear the anger: Sena

The unease in the ruling benches was clear as ally Shiv Sena urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hear the “anger” in the House towards the Bill.

In fact, the BJP benches did not counter the Opposition attack much.

Two hours after the Opposition held sway, Mr. Naidu stepped in with some letters written by Congress Chief Ministers before the 2013 Act was passed in which they had reservations about the Law. To the Opposition demand for referring the Bill to a Standing Committee, he said: “The problem is that the Ordinance has to be converted into a law by April 5; otherwise it will lapse.”

In a meeting of Congress MPs late on Monday evening, the party issued a whip for Tuesday. A Congress leader said the “party is firm on not allowing the 2013 Law to be diluted through this Bill.” Congress MPs will insist on referring the Bill failing which they will vote against it in the Lok Sabha while the party is expected to demand that the Bill be sent to a select committee when it eventually comes up in the Rajya Sabha.

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