Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday rejected the Prime Minister’s defence of the land acquisition bill that is now before the Rajya Sabha for enactment.
“Mr (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi tried to defend the indefensible and failed miserably in his attempt,” Amarinder said in a statement issued here in the wake of the PM’s address to the farmers in his “Mann Ki Baat” monthly programme on All-India Radio. “It was an exercise in futility, as the Prime Minister failed to explain what was the need to replace the Land Acquisition Act that the previous UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government had brought,” said Amarinder.
Reacting to Modi’s alleging that the UPA had brought the act in a hurry, the senior Congress leader remarked: “It is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. The UPA regime had brought in the law after thorough deliberations with all the stakeholders, including the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), which was in opposition then.”
“Rather it is the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government that was in a hurry to bring in the new land acquisition law, which is why it did not wait for the parliamentary approval, and adopted the ordinance route,” he claimed. Modi had stated on radio that it was rather the UPA’s draft that would have hampered investments or development.
Ridiculing Modi for his accusing the Congress of using a 120-year-old law dating back to the British colonial times to exploit farmers, Amarinder remarked: “The PM himself answered his question by referring to the 120-year-old law, to which his government is trying to revert after the UPA government had repealed and replaced it.” He reminded the PM that the 65-year period he had referred to in his speech included six years of the NDA rule. “So why it had not occurred to the BJP at that time to change it?” he said.
“It is you (Modi) who are trying to revert to the British act and undo what the UPA had done to safeguard the farmers’ interests,” Amarinder told the PM.