Congress Tuesday accused Narendra Modi of having an “anti-farmer” mindset and said instead of visiting the farmers, who are dying due to loss of crop following unseasonal rain and hailstorm, the Prime Minister is set to visit foreign countries.
“Their anti-farmer mindset is clear. So far, Prime Minister could not take out time to visit areas affected by hailstorm that damaged crops on a large scale in the country. However, he will be travelling to France, Germany and Canada this week,” said former Union minister and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh in Lucknow.
The Prime Minister is scheduled to visit these nations from April 9 to 16.
Ramesh said while PM’s mind was “occupied with his foreign tours”, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has already visited affected farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. “The Prime Minister did not go anywhere,” he added.
The Congress leader further said, “During UPA regime, whenever there was any danger to farmers, relief packages were announced immediately. But the present government is still caught up in procedures. No relief package has been announced so far”.
Calling Modi a “habitual liar”, Ramesh, who was instrumental in preparing the 2013 Land Acquisition Act during UPA regime, said Congress is ready for “Mahabharat” and will oppose the amended land bill brought by NDA government both inside Parliament and outside.
Vowing to keep fighting to bring back the old 2013 Act, he said counters given by Modi were mere lies. “He is a liar. He is not wrong but he is lying, which has become a habit. The provisions that he is highlighting were already a part of the earlier Act,” Ramesh said in reply to a query on Modi’s statement in media wher he had reportedly said that UPA had kept 13 Acts out of the ambit of the land bill which NDA has including in the new version.
He said the 2013 legislation clearly states that amendment in the said 13 Acts was mandatory before December 31, 2014, so that compensation could be hiked four times and whichever party had come to power would have had to do the same.
Ramesh said five basic clauses of the old Act have been removed to facilitate a certain section. “The clause, which required consent of 80 per cent farmers; clause that required social impact assessment to be conducted six months prior to acquisition; clause that enabled farmer to get the land if project was not started in five years; the clause that allowed land acquisition for only the industrial purpose, and the retrospective clause, which was brought keeping incidents like Bhatta Parsaul and Tappal in mind, all have been done away with,” said Ramesh.
Claiming that Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, CPM, CPI, NCP, JDU as well as DMK were with Congress in opposing the amendments in the new bill, Ramesh said a movement will start against it across country from the Kisan rally to be held on April 19.
Asked if Congress vice-president will attend the rally, Ramesh said, “ I am sure. Whenever Rahul Gandhi comes, he will take part in April 19 Kisan rally”.