Modi coun­ters Oppn with ‘big plan’ to give land to farm­ers

New land or­di­nance is pro­mul­gated af­ter Pres­i­dent Pranab Mukher­jee gives nod

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent ■ let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

BAN­GA­LORE: In a com­bat­ive public speech Fri­day, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi de­fended his gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sions and an­nounced a “big cam­paign” to hand out land to farm­ers, a sur­prise move to blunt an un­re­lent­ing Op­po­si­tion’s land bill charge.

Though he did not di­rectly men­tion the fresh land or­di­nance – pro­mul­gated ear­lier in the day af­ter the Pres­i­dent’s nod

-- or spell out the de­tails of the new pro­gramme to be launched soon, Modi said land records would be “re­formed” and farm­ers would stand to gain from it.

“Land records will be re­formed so that farm­ers get back their land ( which they lost). For this, we will launch a big cam­paign,” he said.

Ad­dress­ing a public meet­ing on the side­lines of the rul­ing BJP’s na­tional ex­ec­u­tive meet here, Modi sought to take the fight to the Op­po­si­tion, fol­low­ing a tough Par­lia­ment ses­sion and some sharp at­tacks in re­cent days fol­low­ing a racist re­mark by one of his min­is­ters.

The PM said some of the NDA’s poli­cies – “niti”-- might ap­pear to be sim­i­lar to that of its pre­de­ces­sor, but it was his gov­ern­ment’s “niyat”, or in­ten­tions, that set it apart.

Modi came down hard on the Op­po­si­tion that has vowed to re­sist the “anti-farmer” land bill. “How did farm­ers lose their land? Where did it go?...” Modi asked. “To get a job of a peon for their chil­dren or to make them a driver, they used to be com­pelled to sell their land to pay bribes. The ( pre­vi­ous) gov­ern­ments com­pelled them (to sell land).”

The rul­ing party’s con­clave has been a show of re­solve to per­se­vere with Modi poli­cies. The party, said sources, was ex­am­in­ing a pro­posal to hold a se­ries of rally in May in sup­port of the leg­is­la­tion that aims to ease land ac­qui­si­tion rules for in­dus­try.

In an ad­dress to party work­ers that pre­ceded Modi’s speech, BJP pres­i­dent Amit Shah sought to rally the rank and file around the land bill, say­ing it was pro­farmer. How­ever, un­cer­tainty over whether party pa­tri­arch Lal Krishna Ad­vani would be picked as a speaker, among many oth­ers, made for a con­tro­versy.

CON­TIN­UED ON P7

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