New Delhi: In clear indications that the government may make a U-turn on the contentious land acquisition law, a Parliamentary committee today approved changes in the Modi government’s bill including on the consent clause, that will restore the UPA law.
The way for a possible climb down by the government was facilitated by BJP members moving amendments in the Joint Committee of Parliament seeking to bring back key provisions of UPA’s land law including on the consent clause and social impact assessment by dropping the changes brought by the Modi government in December last year and subsequently revalidated by Ordinance thrice.
Sources said all the 11 BJP members in the 30-member panel today moved amendments seeking withdrawal of the terminology “private entity”, which was “private company” in the 2013 law passed during the UPA regime.
Others in the Committee belong to Congress (5), Trinamool Congress (2), Janata Dal United, Samajwadi Party, BJD, Shiv Sena, NCP, BSP, TRS, LJP, CPI-M and TDP (all one each).
Trinamool Congress members Derek ‘O Brien and Kalyan Banerjee walked out of the meeting stating that the amendments were circulated this morning and they had little time to study them.
The government appears to have changed its strategy in view of the fact that assembly elections in the agrarian state of Bihar are due in a short time and the ruling party may be averse to being seen as “anti-farmer”, a charge Opposition had been making against the BJP.
Apart from Congress, which wanted restoration of the UPA’s 2013 Act, parties like the Left, SP, JDU, BSP, BJD were also opposing the amendments tooth and nail.
Faultlines in the NDA on the Land Bill were also visible with three of BJP’s allies – Shiv Sena, SAD and Swabhimani Paksha -red-flagging a number of provisions of the bill before the panel and seeking restoration of the consent and social impact assessment clauses.