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BJP vs Congress over land and crops, ‘facts’ and ‘lies’

Narendra Modi, who was present at the meeting, reportedly praised Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh for his reply to the debate on the agrarian crisis.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi |
April 22, 2015 2:58:54 am
Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu provided members with “facts” and “realities” and asked them to attack the Congress and “expose” it at every stage. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu provided members with “facts” and “realities” and asked them to attack the Congress and “expose” it at every stage.

The opposition having mounted a fresher, stronger attack on the land bill, the BJP on Tuesday asked its MPs to continue an aggressive campaign for the bill and “expose” the Congress. Members, in turn, informed the leadership that support for the bill is growing on the ground, sources present at the meeting said.

The day after Rahul Gandhi attacked the land legislation in the Lok Sabha, the BJP held a parliamentary party meeting where Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu provided members with “facts” and “realities” and asked them to attack the Congress and “expose” it at every stage.

With the opposition having united with the Congress, and with the ruling BJP in a minority in the Rajya Sabha, the government needs to work at mustering the numbers to clear the bill that would replace the re-promulgated ordinance on land acquisition.

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Referring to the Congress description of the ordinance route for the bill as “murder of democracy”, Naidu told reporters after the meeting: “The Congress criticising the ordinance route is like the devil quoting the scriptures. Their record is worse. They have issued ordinances umpteen times; 456 ordinances were issued in the last 50 years.”

“There is a limit to misinformation. Falsehood cannot become truth by repeating it 10 times. Before criticising us for murder of democracy, when you imposed Emergency and put lakhs of people behind bars and stifled the media, what is it called?” he said.

Naidu attacked the Left too. “The CPM-supported United Front regime issued 77 ordinances, three ordinances per month. Bills passed were only 61, and 77 ordinances were issued by the United Front government, which was supported by the Communist Party, which is taking objection to the issuance of ordinances that was done after wider consultations after taking stakeholders into confidence,” he said.

Naidu said some MPs told him that misunderstanding about the bill is getting cleared. “A few MPs told me there is clarity about the bill on the ground and the criticism against it is fading,” Naidu told reporters.

Naidu also referred to the “Gujarat model” of land acquisition. He said several studies and the Supreme Court had praised the model, and added a Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion study commissioned by the UPA had found the Gujarat government follows the best practices for acquiring land in India. Naidu distributed copies of an Indian Express report on the Supreme Court remarks on the Gujarat government’s land law. In August 2011, the court had observed that no cases of farmers or the poor being uprooted from their land had come to the court from Gujarat.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was present at the meeting, reportedly praised Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh for his reply to the debate on the agrarian crisis on Monday.

Sources said the PM also paid tribute to Basavanna, a 12th-century poet-philosopher and the founding saint of the Lingayat religion, on the occasion of Basava Jayanti, besides wishing MoS Jayant Sinha on his birthday.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley briefed MPs on the bills on GST and black money.

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