Hitting the streets against the controversial land bill, Congress on Wednesday accused the Narendra Modi government of being “anti-farmer”and “pro-corporate” and vowed to take the battle across the country but both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi were conspicuous by their absence.
Top leaders like Digvijay Singh, Jairam Ramesh and Ahmed Patel were present at the ‘Zameen Wapsi Andolan” organized at Jantar Mantar, at which senior leaders dubbed the emergency measure as “black ordinance” which brought key changes in UPA’s 2013 land law pushed by Rahul.
While the Congress President was in town, Rahul has taken a two-week sabbatical to reflect on recent incidents and party’s future course.
Down in the dumps after its worst-ever debacle in the 2014 general elections, where it reached its nadir to a mere 44 seats in the Lok Sabha and not being able to get even the Leader of Opposition status, Congress senses a big opportunity for agitation politics after the ordinance.
Launching a scathing attack on the NDA and calling party workers to pan out across the country and organize farmers, former Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh drew parallel of today’s agitation at Jantar Mantar with the comeback trail of Congress that had begun after its Chikmaglur victory in 1978 giving political re-birth to Indira-Gandhi.
Indira Gandhi had won the seat in 1978 one year after she had lost from her turf Raebareli in Uttar Pradesh in the anti- Emergency wave.
“As Chikmaglur had become a sanjeevani (lifesaving), similarly Congress will get a sanjeevani from here,” Ramesh said.
“This is a zamin wapasi agitation against the ghar wapasi government,” he said taking a dig at the BJP over conversion and reconversion issues in last few months.
Party general secretary Digvijay Singh projected the agitation against land ordinance as a “fight between farmers-labourers and big industrialists” and asked people to decide who will rule the country. He alleged that while PM Narendra Modi will not honour his promises to people, he will fulfill all promises made to the big industrialists and noted that the land ordinance is a step in that direction.
Congress President’s political secretary Ahmed Patel cited epic Mahabharata to drive home the point that Duryodhan lost the Great War after he usurped the land belonging rightfully to others.
“They were talking of making the country Congress-Mukt (free of Congress). Within nine months of coming to power, they want to make the country Kisan-Mukt (free of farmers),” Patel alleged.
Ramesh said that while it took two years for UPA to reach a consensus on the bill, it took only two hours for the NDA government to bring an ordinance.
Attacking the government for doing away with provisions like consent clause, social impact survey and diluting the provision for return of acquired land to farmers if it was not used for the specified purpose within five years, Patel said, “they do not want to return the land”.
AICC general secretary Ajay Maken warned of agitation from slum dwellers in Delhi against the land ordinance and contested Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s claim that land acquisition after the Ordinance will help construct houses for the poor.
Calling the farmers “Annadata”, Jyotiraditya Scindia said that Congress has always fought for their issues.
“BJP’s Achche Din is only for 20 percent of the population and not for 80 percent Annadatas. Government had announced to introduce bullet trains. No bullet train has come as yet but this bullet train of ordinances has come,” he said.