Faced with stiff opposition on the land bill, the government today reached out to leaders of opposition parties, including Sonia Gandhi, and activist Anna Hazare inviting them to an open debate on the issue while asserting that the bill was "very much in farmers' interest".
In a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, leaders of other opposition parties and social activist Anna Hazare, Union transport and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari said the government was willing to debate all aspects of the bill which is awaiting clearance in the Rajya Sabha.
A united and aggressive opposition, led by the Congress, is blocking the bill's passage in Rajya Sabha and submitted a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee earlier this week, terming the land bill as "anti-farmer".
Gadkari, while claiming that the opposition parties were criticising the bill for "political reasons", invited all leaders of major parties as well as Hazare for an open debate on any platform to discuss the nuances of the bill.
"The Narendra Modi-led BJP government has brought significant amendments to the land acquisition bill keeping the interest of farmers and rural development in mind. But some parties and organisations are opposing this bill for political reasons.
"No compromise has been made in the bill with the compensation provisions for land owners. No provision of the bill is anti-farmer... In fact, the bill will bring prosperity to villages and farmers and we are ready to debate the bill on any forum," he said in his letter.