The UPA has lost hope in passing its ambitious National Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation & Resettlement Bill in the winter session of parliament, ahead of the crucial assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
The standing committee on rural development, which is reviewing the bill, has told rural development minister Jairam Ramesh that it is not in a position to submit its report on the bill during the session. Tabling of the report would have created an opportunity for the government to pass the bill.
Asked if the bill will be passed in the upcoming winter session, Ramesh told HT on Wednesday, "I don't think so." Ramesh had introduced the bill in the last monsoon session of parliament.
The minister had personally requested the BJP brass and head of the parliamentary rural panel Sumitra Mahajan to get the bill passed. He also met the leaders of opposition in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha-Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj-to urge Mahajan to submit her report as early as possible.
Mahajan, the BJP MP from Indore, however, told Ramesh that she was "unable to rush the matter." She also pointed out to Ramesh that rural development panel was re-constituted only in mid-September and it received more than 700 submissions on the bill.
As the issue of land involves state governments, Mahajan told Ramesh that she would only draft the report after talking to some states, along with other stakeholders. The BJP-led NDA is in power in nine states.
For the Congress, the land bill has been seen as a major political tool for winning the UP polls. The party is set to highlight the land acquisition issue against the Mayawati government that faced agitations by farmers over land acquisitions in Noida and Greater Noida. Passage of the long-pending bill would have come handy for the Congress in its poll campaign.