February 23, 2015 3:06:40 am
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, said Sunday they will “strongly oppose and resist” the land acquisition ordinance in Parliament because the fresh amendments are “anti-people and anti-farmer”.
Speaking to The Indian Express on the eve of the budget session, Azad said: “The BJP has no right to bring any such amendment or dilute the very spirit of this Act for several reasons. The Act (Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013) was passed unanimously in both houses of Parliament that included BJP, and the chairperson of the standing committee was eminent BJP leader and current Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.”
Underlining “there is absolutely no need for any fresh amendment”, Azad, who attended an all-party meeting Sunday, said he had made it very clear to the ruling party that they should not expect any support from the Opposition on this issue. “We will protest and fight the government on this issue inside and outside Parliament.’’
He said the land acquisition Act was a “progressive piece of legislation which should have come into being a long time ago” but “it took our party more than five years to convince other parties and build a consensus”.
“We took everybody on board. This is one such progressive legislation which was passed unanimously by both houses of Parliament. The chairperson of the standing committee that looked at and discussed this Bill for two years was an eminent BJP leader. Besides, two amendments by the then Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, and one amendment by then Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ravi Shankar Prasad, were incorporated before it was passed unanimously by the two houses.”
“The way the BJP promulgated an ordinance to bring these anti-people and anti-farmer changes in the law is questionable because the existing law was passed a year ago and it is yet to take effect on ground. They have taken this measure (of bringing fresh amendments) without looking at the merits and the implications of the Act on the ground,’’ Azad said.
“How did BJP reach to the conclusion that this Act needs to be reviewed when it is yet to take effect on ground,” he said. “The BJP has taken out all the safeguards that we put in the law so that it doesn’t become anti-farmer and anti-people. Every change that they have introduced makes it anti-people,’’ he said.
Referring to the protest by activist Anna Hazare against the ordinance amending the land acquisition Act, Azad said: “We are very happy that other social organisations, including Anna Hazare, have supported our viewpoint vis-a-vis this legislation. They are all supporting our legislation and opposing the ordinance promulgated by the BJP. The question whether we attend his protest or not is immaterial. We support the spirit behind his (Hazare’s) agitation because that further strengthens our resolve to fight it within and outside Parliament.’’
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