PM reaches out to Oppn, stormy session looms
Modi made the remarks at an all-party meeting called by parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu. However, this has not elicited any promise of cooperation from the Opposition. The Congress on the contrary has said that it could oppose the ordinance amending the Land Acquisition Act. Anti-corruption leader Anna Hazare is arriving in the capital ahead of a farmer’s march to oppose the amendment.
The Government is all set to face a tough time in this session which begins from Monday, even as it promised to walk the “extra mile” to accommodate Opposition’s concerns.“It is the collective responsibility of leaders of all parties to ensure that this session runs smoothly so that the House can fulfill aspirations of people. Hope we can collectively work for the benefit of common man,” said Modi. Referring to the various issues that opposition is waiting to raise, he told the leaders attending the meeting, “I can assure you that all the issues you have referred to will be discussed adequately and appropriately in order of their priority and importance.”
Earlier, while setting a conciliatory tone Naidu, met Congress President Sonia Gandhi, seeking cooperation of the largest opposition party in carrying out the legislative business. Short of numbers in Rajya Sabha, the government will need the help of Congress, to help push legislation considered crucial to Modi’s reform agenda. Naidu said Gandhi had expressed “concern” regarding the issue of land acquisition. “I said we will discuss these while debating it in the House,” he said adding, “She was very receptive and it was cordial meeting.”
However, the Opposition parties appeared in no mood to offer any leeway to Government, particularly on the move to amend the Land Acquisition Act. Naidu admitted that some opposition parties expressed reservations against the land ordinance move even as there was “broad consensus” on five other Ordinances to be converted into Acts.
Naidu acknowledged that land acquisition is an “emotive issue” and needs to be addressed “sincerely without undue politicisation”. He said the government is always willing to sit with opposition to resolve differences on any issue. “A spirit of mutual cooperation is required to ensure productive budget session,” he said.
On land issue, he said state governments, cutting across political spectrum, have expressed difficulties in acquiring land under the provisions of the Act of 2013. “Based on such feedback, the government only wants to facilitate timely acquisition of land and that too for the purposes of infrastructure, affordable housing etc,” Naidu said while justifying the Ordinance brought on the issue to amend the Act passed during the UPA rule. “All of you will appreciate that there has been no change in the remuneration to be paid to farmers or the rehabilitation measures to be undertaken for the displaced people,” he said.