PM defends land bill in party’s top meet

Rajat Kain

bjp_mpPrime Minister Narendra Modi strongly defended the ordinance on the land acquisition at BJP’s top organisation meet National Executive. The ruling party and the Prime Minister himself has been under attack from the collective opposition over the issue of ordinance on land acquisition.

Making a strong case of his government’s decision of bringing an ordinance and now even re-issuing it, PM Modi said “How did farmer’s lose their land? Where did it go? To get a job of a peon for their children or to make them a driver, they used to be compelled to sell their land to pay bribes. The (previous) governments compelled them to (sell land)”.

Addressing the party’s top meet in Bengaluru, PM Modi reiterated that the BJP-led NDA government has been able to “bring in the change” and “it was possible through a team work”.

Over two days, the 300-member top organisation body took stock of the government performance after 10 months of coming to the power at the Centre. The meet also discussed the future course for the party. But he discussions over the Ordinance on Land Acquisition topped the agenda. The tone was set on the first day itself on Friday with party chief Amit Shah attacking the opposition parties and in particular the Congress party.

“Opposition has deliberately spread many misgivings about the bill which is in the interest of farmers. We will take the message to farmers. BJP is friend of farmers. It is farmers who have given us mandate.” Shah told the delegates.

The Bill has become a rallying point for the opposition parties, in particular the Congress party, to take on the PM Narendra Modi-led NDA government. The Land Acquisition Bill, originally brought in and passed by the Congress led UPA-2, was amended by the BJP government through an ordinance route in December 2014. The Ordinance has since been opposed by the opposition parties inside and outside the Parliament. Although, the government got the ordinance cleared in Lok Sabha, where it enjoys a huge majority, it could not table the bill in Rajya Sabha. BJP and its allies are in minority in the upper house.

The ruling party brainstormed to chart out the strategy to counter the ‘anti-farmer’ tag it has been accused of by the Opposition. And now with the ordinance re-issued, the opposition may sharpen its attack yet again.

Besides, the party also discussed the electoral course to be taken for strengthening the organisation structure in the states where BJP has been traditionally weak or a non-player. The regions of East and South of India will be the key focus on this count. Electoral debacle in Delhi where it won only 3 out of 70 assembly seats and the performance of government in Jammu and Kashmir too was taken up. Jammu and Kashmir government is run by PDP-BJP alliance.

The party stressed for a need to have organisational presence in every district, especially in the states going to polls within an years time. Crucial state of Bihar will poll for the next government later this year followed by the polls in important states of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry slated in an year’s time.

BJP faces a stiff challenge in Bihar from an ex-ally JD (U). The two had snapped ties nearly two years ago over the issue of Narendra Modi named as BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate. Bihar polls assume significance as BJP and its ally Lok Janshakti Party had swept the state with 28 out of 40 seats in 2014 General Elections.