While Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi targeted the Centre on the land Bill in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani and Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan hit back at him on his home ground in Amethi.
“At least 2 lakh hectares of land was acquired during the 10 years (of UPA government). Everybody knows about the biggest property dealer in his family. Now, when his property deals have stopped, they are opposing the new bill,” said Sanjeev Balyan.
Balyan and Irani addressed four kisan panchayats in the area. The message was the same: the Bill is beneficial to farmers and Congress is opposing it to keep them poor.
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Balyan said the NDA government has to acquire land for development of highways, railways and other civic amenities. “In the last one year, land has not been acquired for any property dealer,” he said.
Irani said the compensation for land acquisition would be four times the existing market rate. “One member of the family whose land is acquired will be given a job. But the Congress does not want that to happen. Congress wants your farmers to live in the dark so that they can rule,” she said, adding that Rahul had misguided the people while speaking on the land Bill in the Lok Sabha.
Watch Smriti Irani slamming Rahul Gandhi in Amethi:
Irani also told farmers that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that wheat crop damaged due to unseasonal rain and hailstorm would be procured in any condition. Banks have been directed not to mount pressure on farmers to return the loans taken for their crop last year, she added.
Talking to the farmers at Inhauna village, Balyan said, “Rahul was touring Punjab and Telangana to meet farmers but he has not come to Amethi yet, although the condition of farmers is worse here and 13 farmers have died.”
When the farmers said procurement of wheat has not started in Amethi, Balyan called up Union Minister for Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan. He then announced that procurement would begin in Amethi from Wednesday.
On the controversy over the mega food park in Amethi, Irani said while Rahul had laid the foundation stone in 2013, the last notice to scrap the project was issued during the UPA government. Balyan added that if Rahul could arrange 50 acres of land for the project, the NDA government would revive it.
Pointing to hoardings congratulating Rahul for getting approval for a central school in Jais, Irani said she had not received any letter from Rahul for a central school in the last one year.