Millennium Post

Cong strategy group to take on govt on land ordinance

The party will also form a Parliament Strategy group to take up the issue more effectively in Parliament when the Budget session begins.

Former Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and former Food Minister K V Thomas are members of the high-power group, which will try to reconcile the interests of various stakeholders while formulating the blueprint of Congress protest plan.

The three leaders met Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday to brief her on the deliberations held so far on the issue and on how the party has to go take among people. The group has already met and discussed the issue a number of times.

“It has many dimensions. We will also consult Congress Chief Ministers. This issue requires deeper examination. We have to also carry other political parties with us on the issue. We will confront the government with a consensus among the Opposition,” a senior party functionary said on the condition of anonymity.

The Land Acquisition Act, a landmark legislation of UPA- II, was the brainchild of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and the party is accusing the Narendra Modi government of seeking to take the 'heart and soul' out of the legislation through this Ordinance.

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had on December 29 last year decided to amend the Act to bring under its purview 13 central legislations, including those relating to defence and national security, to provide higher compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement benefits to farmers whose land is being acquired.

Changes were made in consent clause and some other provisions, which led to a barrage of criticism from the Opposition. Amid the combined attack of opposition parties on the issue, three senior Union Ministers-- Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari met the President to explain the urgency in promulgating the ordinance on Land Acquisition before he gave his nod to it.
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