Even as the NDA government faces stiff opposition over the proposed land acquisition bill, its ally in Punjab, Shiromani Akali Dal on Thursday said it is against acquisition of farmers' land "without their consent".
The ruling SAD in Punjab is against acquisition of farmers' land without their consent, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said here.
Rebutting Opposition Congress' claim that Akalis are against farming community during the zero hour in the Assembly, leader of the House Badal, who is also the party patron, categorically assured the SAD-BJP alliance government in the state is against the acquisition of farmers' land "without their consent".
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He was rejecting Leader of Opposition Sunil Jakhar's accusation that Badal "being the only farmer who became the chief minister of Punjab for five times" is against issues concerning peasantry, including the amendments in the Land Acquisition Bill.
"The SAD stand is clear on farmers' land acquisition that it should not be done without their consent, they must be given a proper price for their acquired land besides making them partners in development of their acquired land," he said, seeking to downplay Congress' claims about Akalis on the issue of amendments in the bill.
He claimed that it was during Congress' regime that the land of farmers was acquired at throwaway prices.
"Our government is clear that before acquisition of land of farmers a committee comprising village head, area MLA, constituency MP and the concerned Deputy Commissioner will fix the price of the land, which will be at par with its current market value," he said.
The chief minister further said that it was the Akali government which had doubled the money of the acquired land of a farmer after he expressed dissatisfaction over the rate provided to him by the government.
Ruling SAD is a key ally of the ruling NDA at the Centre.
Earlier, Jakhar sought a debate on the land acquisition issue.
Taking a jibe at Badal, Jakhar questioned whether the chief minister has the guts to clear Akali's stand on amendments in land acquisition before Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his proposed visit to Punjab on March 23.
"As per the amendments in the Land Acquisition Bill, the Centre wants to withdraw clause of mandatory consent from farmers prior to acquiring their lands," he said.
Jakhar expressed displeasure over introduction of a non- official resolution in the Assembly on the menace of stray cattle and dogs.
"There are other key issues, including drugs and land acquisition of farmers that are more important on which the House should debate," he said.
"You (ruling SAD-BJP) are ready to talk on dogs in the assembly on which debates have been held several times in the past, but not on farmers," Jakhar said.
Later, he told reporters that the government was running away from facing serious issues raised by the Opposition in the Assembly.
"Deliberate attempts have been made by the government to scuttle uncomfortable questions by the Opposition," he claimed.
"In Parliament, Akali MPs are votary of removal of farmers consent clause in land acquisition...they (ruling SAD) are speaking a different language here...it shows their double standards," he claimed.
He dared Badal to convey to the Prime Minister during his visit that people of the state are against the amendments in the Land Acquisition Bill.