The contentious legislation on the land acquisition was introduced by the BJP-led NDA government in Lok Sabha even as the opposition led by Congress party maintained their strong opposition to the bill by staging a walkout. The bill was introduced after the ordinance was re-issued by the government. As Congress along with Left parties, TMC, BJD and even the NDA ally Swabhimani Paksha party opposed the bill and pitched the protest seeking the bill to be withdrawn.
However, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan rejected the contentions of the Opposition and put the house to vote enabling the government to table the bill. Terming the bill ‘anti-farmer’, Congress, left front, TMC and BJP staged the walkout. Questioning the introduction of the land bill, the opposition parties argued that the measure was pending in the Rajya Sabha.
But Speaker Sumitra Mahajan ruled that “there is no bill identical to the one being proposed that is pending”, putting the bill to vote to be introduced for discussion.
Raising the flag against the bill, which has become a bone of contention between Narendra Modi government and the Congress party, its leader in the lower house Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that the current government was serving the interests of capitalists and corporates and said the Bill was not in the interests of farmers.
Seconding Kharge, TMC’s Saugata Roy said some clauses including those related to consent, social impact assessment and food security, had been removed. The bill also united ideological foes as CPI(M) too shared the concerns with TMC. M B Rajesh of the CPI(M) said the entire process of promulgation and re-promulgation of ordinance and then bringing the Bill was in violation of the constitutional provisions.
Rejecting the opposition charges, Parliamentary Affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu charged that the “Opposition goes on making political comments and criticise, the government cannot sit watching”.
“What is bull dozing. We want to take the majority view. We have some suggestions (in the Bill),” Naidu said while arguing that government was not going to pass the bill but was only introducing it.
But there was an embarrassment in store for the government as its ally Swabhimani Paksha party too opposed the bill. Its member Raju Shetti said the consent clause has been diluted.
Even BJD’s B Mahtab (BJD) sought to know from the government why the bill is being introduced again and wondered where was the earlier Bill in this regard if it was not pending.
But the Union Rural Development minister Birender Singh countered opposition charges telling the house that both the “earlier Bills were with him as he is in charge of the concerned department,” even as the discussions ensued in the matter.