New Delhi, March 19 The Congress asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to “apologise” to farmers and to “withdraw” the land acquisition ordinance, calling it a “sinister attempt” to kill the spirit of the 2013 Land Act brought when the UPA was in power.
In response to a letter from union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, the Congress, in a statement, said: “If Modi and the BJP are sincere, they should first withdraw the land acquisition ordinance and apologise to the entire farming community.”
The statement asked Gadkari and the BJP to “stop hoodwinking and attempting diversionary tactics to dilute the agony, pain and outrage among the entire farming community by the Modi government’s sinister attempt to kill the soul and spirit of the Right to Fair Compensation Act 2013.”
The statement came after Gadkari said he had written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and social activist Anna Hazare inviting them for an open debate on the land bill brought by the NDA government.
Addressed to several political leaders and social activists, the letter by the minister claimed: “The Modi government introduced important amendments to the law on land acquisition keeping in mind the interest of the farmers and the need for rural development.”
Gadkari said the government has only added certain categories to the existing list under the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013 that has kept 13 acts outside the purview of social impact and consent clause.
“In the interest of national defence, rural electrification, irrigation policies, housing for poor and industrial corridor policies, land acquisition has been added to the list of acts kept outside the purview of social impact and consent clause,” he said.
But the miffed Congress targeted the central government for disregarding “complete political unanimity” that the UPA had hammered out over a period of two years, accusing the prime minister of “supporting a few crony capitalists” by introducing the changes that Gadkari referred to in his letter.
The Congress sought an explanation from the BJP for taking the ordinance route to dilute the act if the prime minister was open to suggestions.
“Will Modi and Gadkari answer as to why did the BJP unanimously supported the Right to Fair Compensation Act, 2013 inside and outside parliament nine months ago” but proceeded to “kill the same law within six months of coming to power even before it could be implemented?” the statement said.