Land bill referred to House team

Rahul leads Oppn charge against Centre

Land bill referred to House team

The controversial land acquisition bill has been referred to a parliamentary panel for scrutiny after acrimonious debate in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi led the Opposition side with repeated jibes at the government which invited running protests from the treasury benches. He even drew a parallel between a daylight robbery and the proposed law, saying an economist had told him that thieves wearing suits now strike during daylight.

The 30-member joint committee, likely to be chaired by senior BJP leader S S Ahluwalia, has been asked to submit its report on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Second Bill on the first day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

Setting the tone for the fractious debate, Rahul accused the government of “murdering” the existing laws to acquire land from farmers. Harping on his pet theme of “suit-boot ki sarkar”, the Congress leader said the Centre had dealt deadly blows to the farmer by scrapping the social impact assessment and consent clauses from the bill.

He accused the government of committing a “broad daylight robbery” on the farmers by amending the land acquisition law that was passed by the UPA government.

The House witnessed dramatic scenes with Rahul thumping the desk animatedly to make a point that the BJP had wholeheartedly supported the Bill in 2013 from the Opposition benches.

Besides, the AIADMK, Trinamool, BJD and Left parties, NDA constituents Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal also demanded that the Bill be referred to a panel for further scrutiny.

Hitting back at Congress in equal measure, BJP fielded tribal leader Dilip Singh Bhuria who referred Rahul’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra’s controversial land deals in Haryana.

Underlining the need for the amendments to the law, Rural Development Minister Birendra Singh said no state barring Punjab and Odisha have been able to acquire land under the law passed by the UPA government in 2013.

Launching a blistering attack on the Congress, Singh said when Sonia Gandhi was telling a conclave of chief ministers in Nainital in 2006 not to acquire multi-crop land, 20,000 acres of farm land was acquired in Haryana.

“The then chief minister of Haryana misled the Congress in a manner no one had done before,” Singh said apparently trying to score political points over his arch-rival Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

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