New Delhi: The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is likely to dilute certain controversial provisions of the land acquisition Bill due to the mounting pressure from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-affiliated organisations, social activists, and political compulsions.
According to a senior Sangh Parivar leader who has held talks with leaders of anti-land ordinance organisations, the government cannot afford to pursue a hard line position in the wake of mounting protests against the land law across the country and opposition parties are likely to exploit it in the coming Assembly elections. The RSS is learnt to have conveyed to the government the “groundswell of opposition” against the law.
Earlier this week, Business Standard had reported how Sangh Parivar organisations such as the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch,Bharatiya Kisan Sangh and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) have planned a series of programmes to oppose the land Bill in its present form. The BMS will conduct a countrywide ‘satyagraha’ on February 26 to demand changes in the land Bill. In Delhi, the satyagraha will be held at Jantar Mantar.
However, the government is putting up a brave front. Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, in an interview to a private channel on Thursday, had said there was no question of the Central government going back on the Bill, but it was open to meaningful suggestions.
Outside the Parivar, on Friday, anti-graft activist Anna Hazare launched a padayatra from Palwal in Haryana, seeking changes in the land Bill. About 5,000 farmers, led by P V Rajagopal, chief of Ekta Parishad, Magsaysay Award winners Rajendra Singh, Medha Patkar and Aruna Roy and former Bharatiya Janata Party ideologue K N Govindacharya are taking part in the march. The padayatra will culminate at Jantar Mantar on Tuesday. This is likely to get major media attention.
According to reports, Anna Hazare called upon Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday to join the fight against land acquisition Bill. The RSS’ effort to reach out to the organisers of the march proved futile, said the Sangh Parivar leader quoted above.
Meanwhile, several protests and marches have been planned in Haryana, West Bengal, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Sensing an opportunity, the Congress has also toughened its stance on land acquisition Bill. In the coming weeks, other opposition parties are also join the protests. The BJP fears the opposition parties might exploit the land Bill to the hilt in the coming Bihar Assembly elections.