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Shiv Sena attends opposition meet on land bill

The NDA ally could queer pitch for govt in the parliamentary committee

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Land acquisition

National Democratic Alliance partner Shiv Sena on Tuesday queered the pitch for the government on the contentious land Bill. Sena MP Anandrao Adsul took part in a strategy meeting of the Opposition members of the Joint Committee of Parliament on the land Bill at the residence of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar. The members discussed the possibility of a joint strategy to frustrate the government’s proposed changes to the 2013 Act when the committee takes up the Bill clause-by-clause in its forthcoming meetings.

The joint committee can move amendments to various clauses, which makes it important for the government to have a majority of the members voting for the amendments moved by the government.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s S S Ahluwalia heads the 30-member committee, with 20 MPs from the Lok Sabha and rest from the Rajya Sabha. The NDA has a near majority with 14 MPs in the committee. These include 11 of the BJP and one each of the Lok Janshakti Party, Telugu Desam Party and Shiv Sena. But the Sena breaking ranks would mean the government needing the support of some of the regional parties when the committee takes up the Bill.

The Congress has five, Trinamool two and nine other parties have a member each in the committee. These parties are the Bahujan Samaj Party, Telangana Rashtra Samiti, Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M), YSR Congress, NCP, Janata Dal (United), Samajwadi Party, Biju Janata Dal and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

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The Sena has consistently opposed the amendments to the 2013 Act. The Congress has already submitted its list of amendments to the parliamentary panel, seeking withdrawal of changes in the Act and asking for uniform compensation, the CPI(M) will submit its recommendations soon. The committee will submit its report on August 5. Apart from Pawar and Adsul, others who attended the meeting were Congress’ KV Thomas, Kalyan Banerjee from Trinamool Congress, YSR Congress MP Vara Prasadarao Velagapalli and Md Salim from (CPI-M) among others, sources said. Sources in the Congress said it had sought restoration of the consent of 80 per cent of landowners to be obtained for private projects and that of 70 per cent for PPP ones.

The present Bill exempts five categories from this provision - defence, rural infrastructure, affordable housing, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects, including PPP projects where the government owns the land. The BJD and the Trinamool Congress have already written to the panel about their amendments.

The strategy of the Congress is to somehow get a majority of members in the panel to oppose the main amendments being brought by the government in the Act. In the meeting, Congress, Trinamool Congress and CPI(M) said that they were for "total withdrawal" of the NDA's land Bill. The Sena is not seeking total withdrawal but has reservations against some of the amendments.

First Published: Tue, July 28 2015. 23:59 IST