New Delhi: In the first display of opposition unity against the Modi government, leaders of 14 political parties led by Sonia Gandhi today marched from Parliament to Rashtrapati Bhavan against amendments to the land acquisition act and pledged to continue their “do or die” battle. A delegation of 26 leaders including former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and H D Deve Gowda met President Pranab Mukherjee and urged him to protect the farmers’ interests by impressing upon the Modi government “not to go ahead with the amendments in the Rajya Sabha” saying they were aimed at promoting “divisions and social disharmony”.
This is the first time Opposition parties have come together in such large numbers against the BJP-led government since the Lok Sabha election defeat last year. “We have come together to oppose the Narendra Modi government’s amendments to the right of fair compensation and transparency in Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation resettlement act 2013.
“All the progressive, secular, democratic and forward looking forces are determined to defeat the Modi government’s design to promote divisions and social disharmony.
“We have come to the President to request him to intervene to protect the interest of our farmers and to impress upon Modi government not to go ahead with the amendments in the Rajya Sabha. These are some of the reasons for which we have come here,” Gandhi told the media after the delegation met the President.
JD-U leader Sharad Yadav, coordinator for the march, declared that it will be a fight to finish as the bill “is not only anti-farmer but also anti India”. Earlier, over 100 Opposition MPs belonging to major political parties including JD(U), Samajwadi Party, Trinamool Congress, CPI and CPI(M), NCP, AAP and INLD marched a distance of one km over the Raisina Hill to the Presidential Estate.
Earlier Delhi police objected to the march citing imposition of regulatory orders in the area but later relented when the leaders insisted on the march. The land acquisition law, the brain child of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council during the UPA regime had stringent provisions against acquisition of farmers’ land. But the Modi government has amended some of the provisions to ease acquisition of land for industrialisation through an ordinance. The government is facing problems in ensuring its passage in Rajya Sabha where it does not have the numbers.