The Congress launched a website – zameenwapsi.com – as part of its agitation against the government’s land acquisition Ordinance. The launch came a day ahead of the mammoth farmers’ rally in Delhi, which the party is holding tomorrow.
The party contends that the government’s land reforms are “anti-farmer” and are meant to benefit the corporates. The protest against it – started with a rally in Haryana’s Bhatta-Parsaul villages in February – was christened “zameen wapsi” or land recovery.
The bilingual website states its aim is to “provide right information regarding the land ordinance, and to dispel the campaign led by the BJP, carrying misinformation”.
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“Some false facts are being spread regarding the fair compensation act 2013 and amendments made by the Narendra Modi government in the land bill,” said senior party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala at the launch.
Senior leader and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh said the website will serve as a platform for farmers to discuss their views and problems. “The Congress will try to take their issues to the government,” he said.
A section, headed “Questions for BJP” lists eight questions on issues ranging from the lack of the consent clause in the Ordinance and what the party calls the BJP’s “deviation” from the position it took on the land bill in 2013.
The renewed push on the land ordinance comes ahead of the second half of Parliament’s budget session, which begins on Monday. The government, which has reissued the ordinance in the interim, intends to push through the land bill, which includes nine amendments approved when it was passed by the Lok Sabha in March.
In its website, the Congress has questioned the amendments, contending that the government has “removed safeguards, protected existing cases of arbitrary acquisitions, made it easier to acquire land not just for companies but for anyone who requires it”.
The Congress also plans to reaffirm farmers’ participation in the protest with a rally on Sunday, which will be addressed by party chief Sonia Gandhi and her son and party vice president Rahul Gandhi.
Earlier today, Mr Gandhi met farmers’ delegations from several states in what the party indicated was an exploratory session. It was also his first public appearance after a 57-day sabbatical.