The Congress slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claims on the changes in the land acquisition law in his monthly radio address Mann Ki Baat on Sunday, and accused him of “lying” and of being “anti-farmer”.
“Today’s Mann Ki Baat was full of lies… Keeping in mind the dignity of the Prime Minister’s post, I am making a direct allegation that he has lied… He has said his government amended 13 legislation. He has not done a favour to anybody. The 2013 law passed by UPA had said these laws will need to be amended,” senior Congress leader and former rural development minister Jairam Ramesh said. “What he has said today in Mann ki Baat is not just false, but a complete lie.”
“Not just the Congress, but all opposition parties and even some NDA allies are saying the amendments are anti-farmer… The amendments are meant to benefit corporates,” said Ramesh, under whose tenure the 2013 legislation was brought in.
He said the government’s ordinance is anti-farmer since it does away with key requirements like Social Impact Assessment and consent for several projects.
“The Prime Minister is misleading the nation by saying defence and national security projects were being delayed because of the 2013 law… What the Prime Minister is now trying to do is create a smokescreen to benefit corporate friends,” he said.
Ramesh said the 2013 law has a clause for retrospective application of enhanced compensation and the return of the land has been upheld by the Supreme Court in 2014.
“The 2015 amendments invalidate these judgments by increasing the number of qualifications that need to be satisfied. The 2013 Law also said if the acquired land is not used within five years, it would be returned to the farmer or to the state’s land bank,” he said.
He added that the 2015 amendments make this open-ended and once acquired, the prospect of land being returned have been virtually eliminated.
Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, said farmers are committing suicide and jawans are being killed by terrorists under Modi’s rule. He said that in the run-up to the general elections, Modi had at a rally in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh “distorted” Lal Bahadur Shastri’s slogan of ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ to “Mar Jawan, Mar Kisan” to attack the Congress.
“This was done just to get vote. He had also promised 50 per cent hike in MSP (Minimum Support Price) for farmers if voted to power. However, in a reply to my question in Parliament his government has rejected the proposal of 50 per cent hike,” Patel said in a statement. “This is not U-turn but a somersault. What does PM have to say about this Mann Ki Baat?” he added.
Opp party slams PM’s defence on Mann ki Baat
R S Chaudhary, INLD spokesperson
It is too late for the BJP to come out with any explanation and convey the impression to the farmers that the government is not anti-farmer. Farmers all over the country are agitated and not going to get convinced with this Mann ki Baat. It is nothing but a belated attempt to convince farmers.
Let me say it straight. We are not supporting this draconian land bill under any circumstances.
Rajpal Singh Saini,
BSP Rajya Sabha member
If BJP-led Central government was really a well wisher of farmers, then PM had no need to explain land bill issues at forums like Mann Ki Baat. Farmers are aware that the BJP government is making amendment in land acquisition rules to benefit corporates
Abdul Bari Siddiqui,
This is a pro-corporate, anti-farmer bill. We need industries, but it cannot be at the cost of small farmers. Why is the BJP making it a prestige issue? Because they are under pressure from its corporate supporters who helped them during the election.
JMM General Secretary
This is a bakwas bill. Despite what the PM says, it will take away our farmers’ land and give it to corporates. It is the beginning of the
BJP’s attempts to weaken Jharkhand’s land rights laws.