Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh likely to lead anti-Land Acquisition Bill march today

New Delhi: Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are likely to lead a march from Parliament House to Rashtrapati Bhavan to protest against the NDA Government’s Land Acquisition Ordinance. Along with the Congress, reports said leaders of the Janata Dal (United), Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party, CPI (M), DMK, INLD and some other parties will participate in the protest.

Opposition parties have united over the contentious bill, claiming that it is an anti-farmer legislation. Leaders of these parties are expected to submit a memorandum against the new land bill to President Pranab Mukherjee. Apart from Manmohan Singh, Janata Dal-Secular chief HD Devegowda, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D Raja, Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi, SP’s Ramgopal Yadav, DMK’s Kanimozhi, INLD’s Dushyant Chautala and RJD’s Prem Chand Gupta are expected to participate in the march.

Meanwhile, the NDA Government proposes to have another round of discussion with Opposition on the Land Bill before moving it in Rajya Sabha.

Earlier this month, the Lok Sabha passed The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 amid a walkout by opposition parties even as the government moved nine amendments to address concerns raised by farmers. Shiv Sena, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, abstained during the voting.

The proposed legislation removes the need for obtaining consent of land-owners and carrying out social impact assessment (SIA) for acquiring land under certain categories—precisely the provisions which had raised the heckles of critics. The bill faces a tough call in the Rajya Sabha where the government is in a minority. The bill will replace an ordinance promulgated by the government in December last year which amended the earlier law passed by the Congress-led UPA in 2013.

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