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Cong wants land bill to be referred to Standing Committee

Opposing tooth and nail the land acquisition bill to replace the new ordinance, Congress today gave clear indications that it expects the government to send it to the Standing Committee of Parliament.

“Whatever bills come newly we want those bills should be sent to Standing Committee,” Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said.

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Citing an example from the past, the former Labour Minister said that the BJP had got a bill sent to the Standing Committee when the UPA government was bringing one small amendment in an earlier bill to change the title of the Act by putting the word “workers” instead of “workmen” to make it gender neutral.

“And now when you are bringing a new bill, with new provisions, should you not refer it to Standing Committee if you believe in democracy? They are bulldozing. This is not the way,” he told reporters after a meeting of Lok Sabha MPs chaired by party President Sonia Gandhi in Parliament House.

Kharge said that the land acquisition bill was passed by the UPA a year ago.

“It was in implementation stage. Without examining its pros and cons, its gains and losses, you are bringing a new bill. It means you feel that since you have majority, you will pass it. You think if it does not get through Rajya Sabha, you will get it passed by calling a joint session.

“Otherwise there was no need to bring the ordinance for the second time. If you have faith in democracy, you should seek confidence of members of both Houses,” he said.

Kharge stressed that Congress is in favour of retaining the 2013 bill.

“We want that the bill of 2013 should remain… There is no other question,” he said.

The first day of the resumed Budget Session of Lok Sabha saw uproar and repeated adjournments as the government laid a copy of land acquisition ordinance which was resisted by a united Opposition, with Congress and Trinamool Congress even staging a walkout.

As soon as Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Pratap Rudy laid the copy of the Ordinance, re-promulgated by the President on April 3 on the table of the House, there was pandemonium.

The fresh ordinance, which is the 11th by the Narendra Modi government, incorporates nine amendments that were part of the bill passed in Lok Sabha last month.


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