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“It is not right in God’s sight to obey men rather than God.”

Congress to vote against Land Bill if govt does not drop changes

NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha is set to witness a confrontation over Land Acquisition Bill on Tuesday when it is taken up for voting with Opposition bent on opposing it even as the government again offered to make changes in the legislation in the ‘larger interest’ of the farming community.

NDA partner Shiv Sena, meanwhile, was ambivalent on the issue, even though its support will hardly matter in the Lower House where BJP has majority on its own.

Toughening its stand, the Congress on Monday decided that it will vote against the bill unless it is sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee or presented in the original form as passed in 2013. It decided to issue a three-line whip to its members in the Lower House asking them to be present and vote against the measure.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Sonia Gandhi which was attended by the Lok Sabha MPs and some other senior party leaders to discuss the strategy over the bill.

Congress took the decision even as Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said in Lok Sabha on Monday that the 'Government is willing to go in for amendment in the (land) bill in the larger interest of the community and the country'.

He made the offer while intervening in the debate on the bill to replace the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance.

His intervention came amid stiff opposition to the bill even as Congress and some other parties demanded that it be referred to a parliamentary standing committee for threadbare scrutiny.

Expressing the willingness of his government to consider the 52 amendments moved by members, he hoped that Rural Development Minister Birender Singh will look into the possibility of reducing the land for industrial corridors being planned to boost manufacturing sector in the country.

Naidu also suggested creating a 'bank' of barren land for acquisition and said first such land should be used for setting up of industrial projects.