NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi today dramatically professed in Parliament that the government has "murdered" existing laws to acquire land from farmers.
Mr Gandhi, who has been leading the Congress campaign against the Prime Minister's land reforms, accompanied his comments with dramatic gestures including a blow to the neck as he referred to "deadly strikes" against farmers. He also repeated the phrase he coined last month in parliament - "suit-boot ki Sarkar" - to censure the government for working for the elite, and warned that if farmers are "robbed", his party will take to the streets to protest.
"We took two years to bring the land bill, but the NDA government has murdered it in just a few days," the 44-year-old said. Detailing his review, he said the government cannot be excused for exempting projects in categories like defence from needing the consent of of 80 percent of the affected landowners.
Mr Gandhi said another "cruel blow" is that these projects will not need to be accompanied by a social impact study involving public hearings - procedures that industry executives say can drag out the acquisition process for years.
Conflict between farmers and companies trying to secure land for industrial projects has hampered India's plans to expand its network of highways, build mines and other infrastructure, holding up about $300 billion of investment.
Mr Gandhi, apparently reinvigorated after a mysterious two-month break trip during this session of Parliament, has taken charge of his party's campaign against the land reforms that are crucial for the PM's agenda of economic development. Confronted by a united opposition which wants to block the proposal, the government used two executive orders in December and April to introduce the new rules. The proposal has been introduced in the Lok Sabha but has been unable to navigate entry in the Rajya Sabha, where the government is in a minority.
SOURCE: NDTV, 12/05/2015, http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/government-has-murdered-land-laws-rahul-g...