Wednesday, 20 May 2015

No going back on Land Bill, open to changes: Nitin Gadkari

Union minister Nitin Gadkari today ruled out going back on the land bill but said the government was open to incorporating more amendments which are in the interest of farmers.

Government's key pointsman with other parties on the bill, Gadkari alleged that Congress was opposing the bill for political reasons as part of its agenda to spread disinformation against the government.

"There is no question of going back on the land bill... Whatever is in the interests of the nation will be done forcefully," the Road Transport Minister told PTI in an interview.

Gadkari said the government has been speaking to opposition parties to get their support in Rajya Sabha, where NDA lacks in numbers, and noted BJD's decision to support the bill.

He was asked how the government would cobble up numbers in Rajya Sabha for the passage of the bill.

To a question if the government was willing to bring in more amendments to accommodate opposition, he noted that nine of them have already been brought in and the government was open to "good" suggestions.

"If the amendments are good, then Prime Minister Narendra(Modi), our government will (accept)," he said.

Gadkari, however, made it clear that the government was committed to pressing ahead with the legislation in Parliament irrespective of the stand of the opposition parties.

"BJD has come out in our support on the land bill. We were accused of being arrogant, now we are going to everybody with folded hands... If they come, it is good; if they oppose we will continue to move forward," he said.

To another query on reservation expressed by BJP allies Shiv Sena and Swabhiman Paksha, Gadkari said each one has his own axe to grind and used a Hindi proverb, "looking somewhere, targeting something else".

Succumbing to the opposition pressure, the government has sent the contentious bill to a joint committee of Parliament, which is scheduled to submit its report in the beginning of the monsoon session. The government has promulgated the land ordinance twice so far in the absence of parliamentary nod.

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