NEW DELHI: The BJP would not like to let the Congress claim victory so easily. Two days after the opposition party held a victory rally in Delhi addressed by its leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to mark the withdrawal of the NDA’s contentious land bill, the BJP has launched a counter offensive.
District wise land acquired in between 2004-2014 by Congress government. (figures as released by Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari)
- Andhra Pradesh
Ranga Reddy 2,378-45
Medak 4991-36 ¼ -049
East Godavari 17177.40
West Godavari 2403.18
The BJP collected figures of the land acquired in the Congress ruled states in the last 10 years when the UPA was in power to argue farmers were short changed as they were not paid enough compensation, and even the land allegedly siphoned off for commercial gains.
The party fielded three senior ministers - urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu, transport minister Nitin Gadkari and rural development minister Birender Singh – to push the Congress in a corner. These ministers with infrastructure portfolios are directly hit by lack of land acquisition for the big ticket development projects.
Addressing a press conference at the party head quarters, Naidu hit out at Rahul Gandhi for saying they will not allow inch of land to be acquired. “Please tell us what is the scale of your inch. They have acquired lakhs of acres in last 10 years. Was not it sufficient.”
“The Congress during its 10 year rule in the Andhra Pradesh (before bifurcation) had acquired over 5 lakh acres of land across the state from farmers on pretext of setting up of special economic zones, industrial corridors without conducting social impact assessment or taking their consent, and transferred it to the big industrial houses.
“Congress is shedding crocodile tears. It’s like ‘sau chuhe kha ke, billi hajj ko challi’ (person leaving for pilgrimage after committing many sins)... Congress is maha-paapi (big sinner),” Naidu said attacking the Congress for its stance. Ministers argued that Congress acquired land from farmers without their consent and compensated the farmers according to the outdated 1894 bill. Now, when the government brought new changes in the 2013 bill by giving four times compensation and job for the farmers, the congress was crying hoarse.
The BJP has been digging out dirt on the Congress to blunt latter’s attack. The exercise started during the washed out monsoon session when ruling party started collecting details of land acquired in the Congress ruled states.
If in Andhra, the Congress had acquired over 5, 07,147 lakh acres, in Haryana, the Congress government acquired 80,000 acres between the years 2004 to 2014. Now, BJP will bring out figures in other states ruled by the Congress like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rajasthan.
“Those who acquired lakhs of acres of famers’ lands in Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh ,Rajasthan and other congress ruled states, forcefully without paying adequate compensation and depriving of livelihood are now portraying themselves as well wishers of the farming community”. What a tragedy?” Naidu said adding if the Congress was concerned about farmers why did it not bring the law earlier.
The ministers also attacked Rahul Gandhi and Congress leaders for using intemperate language for the Prime Minister.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched 'Make in India' for generating jobs for the poor and farmers and Rahul Gandhi makes fun of peasants calling it 'Take in India'. Why did not he or Congress president Sonia Gandhi stop their state governments from acquiring land. Now they are obstructing us when we on the road to development," Gadkari said.
Naidu added: “Spit and run politics will not work. Obstructionist attitude in Parliament is of no use. So called 100 years old party using foul and cheap abusive language about the prime minister, countrymen are watching. Sit and introspect. Introspect why your strength is dwindling. Introspect why you are losing state by state. Introspect why nobody is willing to share dais with you.”