Chennai: Lacking numbers in Rajya Sabha for passage of key bills, the government today appealed for opposition support, saying “Congress and friends” should back it to give “push for development” considering the larger interest of people’s welfare. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said the measures were part of the government’s efforts for a “push for development” initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Congress and friends should help passage of legislations in Rajya Sabha in the larger interest of the country,” he told reporters at the airport here.
While the insurance and coal bills were passed in Lok Sabha, the government is faced with the tough task of ensuring their passage in the Upper House where it lacks the numbers. Maintaining that the land acquisition bill was ‘pro-farmer’, Naidu said land was required for various purposes, including for irrigation schemes and constructing dams, which would benefit farmers.
“How can you construct dams, irrigation tanks, airports and (lay) new railway lines without acquiring land. From 1894 to 2013 there was a land acquisition act. Was this anti-farmer? The Prime Minister has said that if you have any meaningful suggestion you can make it,” which the government will incorporate, he said.
The earlier BJP government under A B Vajpayee had initiated, among others, rail, road and rural connectivity and “Modi is also doing this and the opposition should support it,” he said. He denied that the NDA government was becoming unpopular in the wake of BJP’s loss in Delhi Assembly polls, saying only a local party (AAP) had prevailed over it and not Congress or others.
He recalled that BJP had won seven state elections after coming to power at the Centre last year, besides winning many municipal polls. To a question on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, he said his government was ‘committed’ to honoring the 13th Amendment to Sri Lankan Constitution, an Indian initiative, on devolution of powers to provinces.