BHUBANESWAR: The BJD, which made a lot of noise against NDA government's Land Acquisition Bill, yesterday stayed away from the protest march to Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi jointly by 14 political parties.
The regional party maintained that it was not 'totally' opposed to the bill and did not want to be seen in the company of Congress president Sonia Gandhi leading the delegation.
"We have reservations on certain clauses. We are hopeful the government would address them," BJD parliamentary party leader in Lok Sabha Bhartruhari Mahtab said. "No one contacted us to participate in the protest march. We have made our stand clear in the Lok Sabha and will stick to it," he said.
Asked whether the BJD plans to lead or join a parallel protest on the bill, Mahtab shot back: "Why should we follow Sonia Gandhi and Congress?" The BJD has been opposing the land acquisition ordinance since it was promulgated. The party also staged a walkout during voting on the bill in the Lok Sabha. Sources said the BJD is deliberately pursuing a blow-hot-blow-cold stand on the bill, ostensibly to maintain its public posture of protecting the interest of farmers while simultaneously helping the Centre pass it.
"The BJD has adopted double standard to protect its interests. With CBI probing the mega chit fund scam, the party has struck a deal with the NDA government," former MP and Congress leader Pradip Majhi said.
"The BJD's protest against the land bill is eyewash," he added.