The BJP, under pressure from the Opposition, allies and even steadfast supporters over the land law ordinance, has engaged a core team of senior NDA ministers, including Arun Jaitley and Venkaiah Naidu, to reach out to these parties to garner support in favour of the most contentious bill of this budget session of Parliament.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley has been entrusted with the task of negotiating with the Congress while his foreign ministry counterpart, BJP sources said, is talking to the Shiromani Akali Dal. Transport minister Nitin Gadkari has been asked to convince BJP ally Shiv Sena while home minister Rajnath Singh is talking to outside supporters. Naidu is believed to be talking to the party’s southern allies. “Senior ministers are talking to different parties. We hope to get all the parties on board,” said Venkaiah Naidu.
The Congress’ stand, as on Wednesday, is that it is totally opposed to “even minor changes” in the original land law. The party is eyeing the land acquisition issue as a possible plank for political revival. The original law also had an imprint of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Naidu hinted the government may make amendments even as he ruled out any changes in the “core” of the ordinance—described by others as dropping the mandatory requirement for consent of farmers before acquisition. Sources said the government may offer to bring clarity into terms like “social infrastructure” or “housing for poor” to define eligible projects.
Jaitley, who is currently in the US, has written a letter to former rural development minister Jairam Ramesh. “Everybody agrees there is a negative impact of this (UPA’s) law on irrigation,” the letter reads.