New Delhi: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal will join Anna Hazare on February 24 to protest against the central government's proposed changes in rules for land acquisition. Arvind Kejriwal today called on the Gandhian activist at the Maharashtra Sadan and touched his feet.
After an hour-long meeting, Kejriwal's closest aide told reporters, "Arvind and I will sit on dharna with Anna after the (Delhi assembly) session at 3 pm."
The reunion of the two most famous faces of the Lokpal movement is expected to draw hundreds of protesters to Jantar Mantar in the heart of Delhi for tomorrow's sit-in. Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare today began a two-day protest against Modi government's controversial Land Acquisition Ordinance at Jantar Mantar, the day when Budget Session of the Parliament also commenced.
Hazare slammed the ordinance, calling it anti-farmer. He wanted the Land Ordinance Bill to be taken back, saying that the government should instead look out for ways to improve the condition of the farmers.
A group of farmers who began marching from Haryana's Palwal on Friday are joining Hazare at the venue on Monday to demand withdrawal of amendments to the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. Hazare had earlier lashed out at the BJP-led government for removing provisions which provided taking the farmers' consent before acquiring their land.
The NDA government is bringing a new bill to replace the land ordinance amid stiff opposition from non-NDA parties in Parliament and outside. The Land Acquisition Act, 2013 stipulates mandatory consent of at least 70 per cent of land owners for acquiring land for Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects and 80 per cent for acquiring land for private companies.
In December last, the government had promulgated the ordinance making significant changes in the Land Act including removal of consent clause for acquiring land for five areas - industrial corridors, PPP projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence.
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday said it is extremely unfortunate that the BJP-led government issued the land acquisition ordinance without consulting anybody, and added this shows that the Centre is trying to please the corporates.
"They have already issued the ordinance without consulting anybody and we stand that the earlier action should be implemented. It is unfortunate that the government immediately, after the session is over, they issued the ordinance," Kharge told the media.
"It means that they are with the corporates. They are with the companies just to please them, to get more investment in the name of this land acquisition act," he added.
Kharge said the land acquisition ordinance is not in the interest of the farmers. "It is not good what they have issued. So, we are jointly fighting and all others are also agreeing on the same point. So, we will take that issue when it comes up in the Parliament," he added.
The Congress leader further said that his party would very soon decide on extending support to veteran social activist Anna Hazare, who will sit on a protest at the Jantar Mantar here against the ordinance on Land Acquisition Bill.
Union parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu earlier in the day said that he has sought the Congress's cooperation for smooth functioning of the Parliament ahead of the budget session.