The Narendra Modi-led central government continues to face a stiff opposition on the Land Bill. On Monday, the Opposition members in the Joint committee of Parliament examining the contentious Land Acquisition bill demanded calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a witness. The idea was strongly opposed by the ruling BJP and it ally Shiv Sena. The demand to call PM Modi was raised by the TMC Lok Sabha MP Kalyan Banerjee.
Pitching their stand, the members from Trinamool Congress (TMC) said that since the ordinance to amend the land bill has lapsed, the bill should be withdrawn as they are identical in nature.
But BJP and Shiv Sena members in the panel opposed the demand saying that the committee has been mandated to submit its report on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015 and it should adhere to its responsibility.
TMC leader Kalyan Banerjee said since Prime Minister Modi had himself made it clear in his August 30 ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio broadcast that the land ordinance will not be re-promulgated, there is no point in examining the bill since it is a copy of the ordinance. Amid a debate, he demanded that the Prime Minister be called as a witness to explain about the bill.
The meeting had to be adjourned soon as the ruling BJP and its ally Shiv Sena stood firm opposing the demand of the Congress and the TMC. But before the meeting was adjourned, panel chairman SS Ahluwalia suggested that the panel get another extension till the end of the Winter session on December 23 to submit its report.
The panel had been granted a fresh extension in August to submit its report in the Winter session.
“Rise and Shine….In Delhi for Land Acquisition Bill panel meeting. Why drag it on? Government should withdraw and move on. Peace offering before Winter Session?” another TMC member in the panel Derek O’ Brien had written on a micro-blogging site Twitter, effective lending out the stand of his party.
BJP-led NDA government had faced a strong protest, especially by the Congress party, on the issue of contentious Land Bill. Terming the legislation as ‘anti-farmer’ and ‘anti-poor’, the Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi had even led a march of opposition parties to the Rashtrapati Bhavan during the budget session in March 2015 urging President Pranab Mukherjee not to re-issue the ordinance.
(With inputs from the PTI)