Govt to introduce Land Acquisition Bill despite Mamata

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 7 2009, 05:09am hrs
Going against the demand of its largest ally, the Trinamool Congress, the Congress-led UPA government has decided to introduce the controversial Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill as well as the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill on the last day of the ongoing budget session.

Government managers on Wednesday indicated that the two bills may be pushed for introduction on Friday, when the session comes to a close. They admitted that some strong opposition from Trinamool members could be expected but expressed hope that apprehensions raised on the bills could be resolved in the standing committee, where the bills will be sent after introduction.

Over the last two days, sources said Congress leader and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee held two sittings with Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee during which he sought to persuade her from posing hurdles at the stage of introduction of the Bill.

Senior UPA functionaries maintain that notwithstanding sharp reservations from the Trinamool Congress, shelving the bills would amount to major embarrassment for the government since a commitment has already been made on the bills in the President's address to the joint session of Parliament at the beginning of the budget session. UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi too had asserted in her address to the CPP last week that the R&R Bill would be introduced before the budget session came to a close. "Though she only talked about the R&R Bill, the land acquisition bill goes with it," a senior minister remarked.

Mamata's opposition to the Bill comes from her contention that it runs counter to her campaign against the CPI(M)-led government in West Bengal, which yielded her rich dividends in the last Lok Sabha elections.