New Delhi: Attacking the government for bringing an ordinance to amend the Land Acquisition Act, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh today said Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari was doing “backseat driving” in Rural Development Ministry headed by Haryana's “tragedy king” Birender Singh.
The former Rural Development Minister also questioned Singh's absence in a group of Ministers who had met President Pranab Mukherjee to explain the urgency for bringing an ordinance to amend the Act.
“He is still a tragedy king. When it is his bill and he did not go with the President, then what else he is if not a tragedy king,” Ramesh said taking a dig at Singh who had described himself as “tragedy king of Haryana politics” just ahead of quitting Congress and joining BJP ahead before assembly polls.
Continuing his attack on the government on the issue of “diluting” the ordinance enacted during his tenure, the Congress leader asked why Singh was not present when three union ministers—Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Law Minister D V Sadanada Gowda and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari- had gone to President Mukherjee to explain the urgency for bringing the ordinance.
“From newspapers reports, it was the Finance Minister, the Law Minister and Gadkari...Gadkari is supposed to be minister for Road Transport. I think, he is interpreting his job as backseat driving also. Rural Development Minister was ultimately to pilot this ordinance in Parliament,” Ramesh said questioning Gadkari's presence in the team of ministers who met the President.
The move to bring the ordinance to amend the Land Acquisition was taken when Gadkari was holding the additional portfolio of Rural Development Ministry following the death of Gopinath Munde in an accident.
Ramesh also alleged “complete lack of transparency and honesty” on the part of the government in bringing the ordinance.
“They have smuggled in amendments in the ordinance which they did not mention earlier. They have amended Section 24 the retrospective clause, which would have benefitted lakhs of farmers,” Ramesh said.