The controversial land bill of the BJP-led NDA government — the Right to Fair compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 — was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday. Rural Development Minister Birender Singh tabled the bill amid strong protests by the Opposition, culminating in a walk-out by members belonging to various parties, including the Congress.
While Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and others listed their objections to the introduction of the bill, Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and Singh countered them.
Kharge alleged that the government wanted “to present the bill to the capitalists” and it was not in the interest of farmers.
BJD leader Mahtab drew parallels with the fable about Trishanku, who had remained stranded out of heaven, and wondered where the land bill passed earlier by the House was. He sought to know why a central law on land acquisition was needed when it was a state subject.
RSP leader Premachandran said the Lok Sabha could not consider a fresh bill when an identical bill passed earlier has been sent to the Rajya Sabha. CPI-M leader Rajesh claimed that the new legislation will lead to land-grabbing by big business houses while TMC leader Saugata Roy contended that land should be acquired only after receiving hundred per cent consent of the landowners. While Birender Singh told the House that both bills “are with me”, Naidu told the members that the Government was only introducing the Bill, and it was not going to pass it on the same day.
Speaker Sumitra Mahajan ruled in favour of the government’s move, saying, “There is no rule which bars the introduction of a bill, while a bill on the same subject passed by the Lok Sabha is pending in the Rajya Sabha”. “There is no bill identical to the one being proposed that is pending,” she added and put the introduction of the bill to vote.
Congress, Trinamool, Left parties, NCP, AAP and RSP members soon walked out, with Sonia Gandhi taking the lead.