BJP, Cong exchange volleys over Land Ordinance

BJP, Cong exchange volleys over Land Ordinance

House scenes: Finance Minister Jaitley parries attacks by Anand Sharma

BJP, Cong exchange volleys over Land Ordinance

A united Opposition tore into the ordinance to amend land acquisition rules and accused the government of trying to bypass Parliament on Tuesday.

In reply, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government does not have any plan to scuttle Parliamentary oversight of the lawmaking process.

“No law can be passed by bypassing Parliament. A bill to convert the ordinance into an act was listed for introduction in the Lok Sabha, and after it is passed in that House, it will be brought to the Rajya Sabha for discussion. The argument that Parliament is being bypassed is not justified,” said Jaitley in response to Congress leader Anand Sharma's accusations.

“Why do your (Congress) chief ministers want amendment to the land acquisition law?” he asked the Opposition leaders protesting against the ordinance.

The Upper House witnessed an acrimonious duel between Jaitley and Sharma as soon as it started transacting business on Tuesday. “The law was changed arbitrarily by the BJP. This ordinance is against poor farmers and would benefit corporate houses,” said Sharma in an attempt to corner the government.

Jaitley, the leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha, responded with statistics. “So far, there have been 636 Ordinances by the Central government, 80 per cent of which were brought during the Congress' rule. As many as 70 Ordinances were promulgated under our first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and 18 under the United Front government,” he added.

The senior BJP leader cited three specific examples: the Indian Medical Council Ordinance, promulgated four times by the UPA-II; an ordinance on SC/ST legislation promulgated three times; and an ordinance on Sebi, promulgated twice.

Sharma in turn pointed out that Ordinances under Nehru were spread over 17 years and under extraordinary circumstances, as the country had just been partitioned. Also, the ordinance on Indian Medical Council had to be promulgated four times as the BJP, then in the Opposition, did not allow the Parliament to function.

Senior opposition leaders Sharad Yadav of the JD(U) and the BSP's Mayawati too came down heavily on the government on the Ordinance.

“You are bulldozing because of the massive majority (in Lok Sabha),” said Yadav.
“The new ordinance only benefits the corporates,” said Mayawati.

Fissures within NDA over ordinance

The Shiv Sena on Tuesday joined the opposition ranks to take on the government on the controversial land acquisition ordinance, DHNS reports.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray asked Narendra Modi to have a rethink on the land ordinance, reminding the Prime Minister that it was the farmers who brought him to power.

“There is no question of Shiv Sena supporting any legislation that goes against the interest of farmers,” Thackeray said in a statement. Thackeray said the Shiv Sena was not opposed to economic development but the same cannot be achieved through forcible acquisition of land from farmers.

“We are with the government, but we are with the farmers as well,” Sena spokesperson Sanjay Raut said.

The first inkling of Shiv Sena’s opposition was apparent when its MPs stayed away from the meeting of NDA Parliamentarians convened by the BJP to brief them on the salient features of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Fissures within the NDA came out in the open when Swabhimani Paksha member Raju Shetti opposed the Bill at the introduction stage in the Lok Sabha. “I oppose this Bill despite being part of the NDA. If this Bill is passed the farmers will have to face tough time. The farmers of this country will never forgive the government,” Shetti said.

RSS farmers’ wing, the Bhartiya Kisan Sang, opposed the land ordinance demanding changes.

“We are opposed to the deletion of the clauses dealing with consent of farmers and the need for socio-economic impact assessment,” Bhartiya Kisan Sang National General Secretary Prabhakar Kelkar said.

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