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Land bill: 10 parties to take protest march to President House

Source: PTI
March 16, 2015 22:24 IST
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Giving a message of larger opposition unity, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh will march with leaders of at least ten parties from Parliament House to President House on Tuesday and submit a memorandum against the new land bill.

The march is being coordinated by Janata Dal-United President Sharad Yadav.

Sources in the opposition said that Congress is playing a key role in the protest including the finalisation of the draft of the memorandum, which will be submitted to President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday evening.

Former prime minister and Janata Dal-Secular chief H D Devegowda, Communist Party of India-Marxist's Sitaram Yechury, Communist Part of India's D Raja, Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi, Samajwadi Party's Ramgopal Yadav, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's Kanimozhi, Indian National Lok Dal's Dushyant Chautala and Rashtriya Janata Dal's Prem Chand Gupta are expected to participate in the march.

Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad is coordinating the draft finalisation from the Congress side.

Sonia's attending the opposition march tomorrow is significant as neither she nor Rahul Gandhi on sabbatical, was in Delhi to Monday to lead the Congress protest against land acquisition at Jantar Mantar, which was a culmination of its padyatra from Bhatta Parsaul village that began four days back.

Manmohan Singh's attending the event is also significant as it comes days after the Congress chief led a march from party headquarters to the former prime minister's residence to express solidarity after Singh was summoned in a coal scam case.

Mahila Congress held a similar march to Manmohan's residence. National Students' Union of India is holding another such march on Tuesday to express solidarity with Singh.

Congress fielding Singh along with Sonia in the march is another attempt by the party to show that it is rallying strongly behind the former prime minister.

Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government for making changes in the Land Acquisition Act, JD-U leader Sharad Yadav said the ordinance has substantially diluted the previous Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, which are against the interests of farmers.

The Lok Sabha had passed the controversial bill with a total of nine amendments last week but the government faces an uphill task in Rajya Sabha, where it is woefully short of a majority.

Accusing the BJP government of “high-handedness” and carrying out a “brutal latchicharge” on its party workers who took to the streets against the bill, Congress on Monday vowed to take its protest on the issue in every nook and corner of the country.

“Government cannot wish it away. It is not restricted to Congress and some opposition parties; the protest has spread even to National Democratic Alliance allies. It will not remain limited to Delhi. It will spread in every nook and corner of India,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.

“Our strong opposition to the bill will remain in and outside Parliament... such lathicahrge will not silence us,” Singhvi added. 

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