At an all-party meeting convened ahead of what is likely to be stormy monsoon session of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government should go ahead with the crucial and much controversial land acquisition bill.
The session, which starts Tuesday, will see a belligerent opposition targetting the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party over a series of corruption allegations against some senior ministers and leaders.
Modi’s statement at the meeting of the leaders of all parties, reported by PTI, came in the wake of reports that the government might not push the contentious land acquisition bill during the session.
Hindustan Times conducted an online poll asking readers whether the government will sacrifice the land bill to get an opposition support for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill. The outcome of the poll, however, did not indicate a clear opinion on the matter.
The government was expected to keep land acquisition measures in operation through an ordinance as the focus is squarely on the passage of the GST bill. The next ordinance will be the record fourth one on the land acquisition issue.
The ordinance was promulgated for the third time on May 31. It was first brought in December 2014 amid fierce protests by the opposition, which said it was against the interest of farmers.
In the HT poll, out of the 407 readers who responded till 4:30pm on Monday, while 40.54% respondents said that the Modi dispensation is very likely to sacrifice the land bill, 38.08% think it is unlikely that the government will give up on it.
While 15.97% think it is somewhat likely that the land bill will be tossed, 5.41% said they do not know or can’t say anything on the topic.
At the all-party meeting, the Prime Minister said: “The government has to take the initiative and responsibility to run Parliament, but this responsibility has to be shared by all.”
Modi added that Parliament has a major significance and it should be utilised to discuss all issues and his government is ready to discuss all issues.
The Congress is unrelenting and has mounted pressure on the government to remove external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje – both linked to a controversy over former IPL chief Lalit Modi’s efforts to obtain British travel documents – and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, whose government in Madhya Pradesh is on the back foot because of the raging Vyapam scam.
The BJP, however, has already indicated the party “will aggressively and effectively counter the disinformation campaign of Congress”.
Modi has also called for a meeting of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on Monday in a bid to chalk out a strategy for the monsoon session. This will be the first such meeting of all NDA parties since Modi stormed to power in May 2014.