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Land ordinance to lapse: Government had to bow down, says Sonia

Leaders attending the opposition rally in Patna hours after the PM made the announcement on his Mann Ki Baat radio programme said people’s voice had finally forced the government to bow down.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: August 31, 2015 12:22:17 am
Congress President Sonia Gandhi addressing to Swabhiman rally in Patna Gandhi Maidan on Sunday. (PTI Photo) Congress President Sonia Gandhi addressing to Swabhiman rally in Patna Gandhi Maidan on Sunday. (PTI Photo)

While welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on Sunday that the land ordinance will not be re-promulgated, opposition parties attacked the government for wasting the time of the country and playing a “cruel joke” on the farmers.

Leaders attending the opposition rally in Patna hours after the Prime Minister made the announcement on his Mann Ki Baat radio programme said people’s voice had finally forced the government to bow down.

“Today is a day of joy. This was not the Prime Minister’s Mann Ki Baat but that of the people and the nation,” said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at the Patna rally. “The people of Bihar were misled (by BJP) during the Lok Sabha but they are not going to fall prey to such false promises this time.”

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Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who was also present at the rally, said the government’s plans to grab land for the rich had failed.

“This is an anti-farmer government. They want to grab their land and distribute it among their rich friends. We fought for the protection of farmers’ rights in Parliament and in the end government had to bow down,” she said.

In Delhi, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury wondered why the government had kept on re-promulgating the ordinance earlier despite knowing that the farmers were against it.

“This is a cruel joke on the farmers. If the government is now allowing this ordinance to lapse, then why did they go for promulgating it thrice in an unprecedented manner. The decision to withdraw the Bill now is clearly a result of popular peoples’ protests against this move… The Prime Minister had to bow to popular protest,” Yechury said.

Congress spokesperson Avishek Singhvi asked the government to explain why it had been showing “political obstinacy” and “rigidity” for the past eight months and wasted the country’s precious time.

He said the government had “no way out” but to budge given the overwhelming opposition to the changes it had made in the land acquisition Act.

“We are happy and proud that the politics of obstinacy and non-accommodation has ended… but eight months have been lost purely out of political obstinacy, politics of rigidity, politics of ego and politics of non-engagement. Why could not some accommodation be shown?” he asked.

Singhvi said the government had been accusing the opposition of being irresponsible but its own ministers were giving provocative statements.

“Why did the Prime Minister and the government not want to ever look at the reasonableness, validity and need to bring our concerns on the table,” he said.

He said the Prime Minister recalled the good old Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan slogan in the radio address, but it did not appear to have come from his heart.

“Had it been the government would not have punished the farmers by changing the land acquisition Act. Had it been, his government would have implemented OROP which the UPA government had cleared.”

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari claimed it was the doublespeak and “anti-farmer” stand of the Congress that stood exposed. Speaking in Nagpur, he said states were free to enact their own land acquisition laws since land was in the concurrent list.

Food Minister and president of Lok Janashakti Party Ram Vilas Paswan said he still was of the opinion that the land Bill was in the interest of farmers and and would have created new job opportunities because of industrialisation.

(With PTI inputs)

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