Describing Land Acquisition Bill as the ‘Sanjeevni’ (a life-infusing plant) for the party, Congress today said it was opposed to the amendments brought by the Centre due to its principles and was not guided by political compulsions.
Former Union minister and senior Congress leaders Jairam Ramesh told reporters here today that the party was demanding that the amendments should be rolled back by the Centre in the interest of farmers.
“This struggle will continue. Land acquisition is ‘Sanjeevni’ for the Congress party,” he said.
When asked why he equated this issue with ‘Sanjeevni’, Ramesh said, “We are not an NGO. We are a political party. We have to fight our political battle on issues. For us this issue is based on principles. Though it is politics as we are a political party and it is a political struggle but doing it in a democratic way.”
He said that the amendments were anti-farmers.
“We should know that Modi Government brought anti-farmers amendments in the Land Acquisition Bill which is grave injustice to them,” Ramesh said.
He also said that the Congress was not running away from the debate on Land Acquisition Bill, rather it welcomed it.
“On one side, you have introduced ordinance and got amendments passed in Lok Sabha and now you want debate on this issue. Is it a democratic way (to ask for debate),” he asked while referring to Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s challenge to Sonia Gandhi for debate on this bill.
Rejecting the suggestion that Congress will always oppose NDA-led Centre in Parliament, Ramesh said, “Our objections to the land bill are based on principles not guided by political reasons.”
“When the Insurance Bill came we supported it. It is not that whatever Bill being brought by the government will be opposed by the Congress as we are sitting in the opposition,” he observed.
Ramesh also took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “lying” to the public in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme on land acquisition issue.
To a query on Rahul Gandhi, Ramesh said that “all” Congress leaders would participate in the forthcoming rally being organised on April 19 on farmers’ issue.
“He (Rahul) is not on leave. He had sought time for bringing changes in the party and fuelling new zeal in the party,” he said.
Jairam Ramesh ducked queries on infighting in Punjab Congress, saying, “you are asking question to a wrong person.”
To a query on Sonia Gandhi’s proposed visit to Punjab, Bajwa said that the state unit had requested Congress President to visit Punjab after Dhuri by-poll on April 11.