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Ordinance to lapse on April 5, govt mulls land bill options

NEW DELHI: With the numbers needed for the passage of the land acquisition bill in Rajya Sabha continuing to be elusive, Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the options with members of the BJP core group on Tuesday.

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According to sources, while the PM and his colleagues, including BJP chief Amit Shah, took note of the challenge because of continuing reluctance of regional players to come to the government’s assistance, they are not ready to throw in the towel yet. The ordinance will lapse on April 5 if not re-promulgated earlier.

The PM and other participants said the demise of the ordinance could hurt farmers as the ordinance has hiked the compensation for land acquired for 13 categories which had been left out of the UPA’s law.

Home minister Rajnath Singh, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, finance minister Arun Jaitley and transport minister Nitin Gadkari were the other attendees.


A farmer heading to the fields with a radio set, listening to the sixth edition of PM’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ series on All India Radio at Beawar in Rajastahan on Sunday. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister had underlined his reluctance to backtrack on the issue on Sunday when he took on the opposition for casting the legislation as inimical to the interests of farmers. Modi followed that up by another spirited defence of the bill on Monday when he addressed a rally in Punjab to mark the Martyrs’ Day.

READ ALSO: Surprised by rumours against land cquisition bill, says PM Modi

The stand takes on significance because of government’s inability to organize majority support for the bill in Rajya Sabha where it is in a minority, and because of the feeling among certain saffron quarters that PM should not risk his political capital on a piece of legislation which has been dubbed pro-corporate.

Last week saw non-UPA and non-Left parties — SP, BSP, BJD, AIADMK and JDU— helping the government pass the mining and coal bills despite resistance from Congress and Left. BJP managers agree that the same non-aligned block helping the government also with land acquisition bill, but do not want to give up yet.

READ ALSO: Sonia writes to Hazare, vows to oppose land bill

Interestingly, the resolve, also indicated through Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari’s feisty challenge to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for a debate on the bill, has struck many, with Congress wondering whether it has been encouraged by the “response” of regional players government is “working on”.

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