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‘Bill is political solution to a political problem’

Union minister for rural development Jairam Ramesh said the Land Acquisition Bill would arm the Congress for Uttar Pradesh elections scheduled in 2012. HT reports.

delhi Updated: Sep 07, 2011 23:20 IST
HT Correspondent

Union minister for rural development Jairam Ramesh said the Land Acquisition Bill would arm the Congress for Uttar Pradesh elections scheduled in 2012.

Ramesh on Wednesday introduced the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill 2011 in the Lok Sabha.

“The bill is as much about land acquisition as it is about politics. It is a political solution to a political problem,” Ramesh said referring to Bhatta Parsaul episode where Congress scion Rahul Gandhi toured in solidarity with UP farmers, cornering the Mayawati government in the run-up to the state elections next year.

The urgent motivation is the public agitation in the state and the political context it provided, Ramesh added. The minister, who prepared and introduced the bill in 55 days after he was made in charge of the ministry in July, attributed the swift movement to Rahul.

“The credit should go to him. Not only he provided the guiding principles but also pushed forward the bill taking it up with Prime Minister whom he met twice over the issue,” he said.

Ramesh added that a single integrated law, livelihood benefits for landless and consonance with tribal laws were the specific suggestions from Rahul — an MP representing Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

“Land acquisition would be a poll issue there. The bill scores over Mayawati policy and how it benefits the party depend on Congress campaign managers." Ramesh even described himself as a political person when asked why he was concentrating on UP, when land acquisition has become a national issue.

The standing committee, which would scrutinise the bill, would submit report in three months. Hopefully, the bill would be made into a law by December, the minister said.

The minister went on to present a comparison of 'Rahul advocated bill provisions' with the Uttar Pradesh Land Policy 2011. The comparison points UP policy as lacking proper definition of public purpose, social impact assessment, rehabilitation for landless etc.