New Delhi: In a move that could embarrass the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government, the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliate, on Tuesday staged a protest at Jantar Mantar here against the “anti-farmer” and “anti-poor” land acquisition Bill and said it planned to spread public awareness against the National Democratic Alliance regime if its demands were not considered.
During its protest at Jantar Mantar here, the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch also raised concerns over the issues of field trials of genetically modified crops and FDI in e-commerce.
"The government today by its policies has proved that it doesn't subscribe to the ideologies of Deendayal Upadhyayaji... The ideologies of Swadeshi thinking and decentralisation of political and economical powers.
"Therefore, organisations like Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and Swadeshi Jagaran Manch feel agitated with its anti-farmer and anti-poor policies which include the irrational land acquisition bill," SJM ideologue K N Govindacharya said.
Govindacharya alleged the government was resorting to policies that "failed world over" and did not address the needs of the poor and deprived sections.
SJM national co-convenor Ashwani Mahajan insisted that the Centre include provisions of social impact assessment, farmers' consent before acquiring land and ensuring food security in its Land Acquisition bill.
"We want it to insert the clauses as these are very important and must be incorporated (in the bill)," Mahajan said.
Mahajan said the SJM is opposed to GM crop field trials as farmers and sections in the BJP are against it. He also pressed for "immediate ban" on operations of multi-national companies in e-commerce sector "in the interest of small Indian companies and shopkeepers".
He said the SJM, irrespective of which party is in power, will raise its concerns. The outfit would also engage in dialogue with the government "whenever the opportunity comes".
The SJM plans to spread public awareness against the NDA government if its demands are not considered, he said.
"We will launch nationwide public awareness campaign if our demands are not considered by the government. Till the government's policies remain anti-people, we will spread awareness against it," SJM's Arun Ojha said.
Meanwhile, singer-turned-parliamentarian Manoj Tiwari, who too participated in the rally, said the government will consider the issues raised by the Manch, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not "ignorant" of concerns of people.
Tiwari though was objected to when he said that "I fail to understand why people did not create ruckus till 2013 until when the British era Land Acquisition Act was in place. But I want to know from you what are the concerns relating to it and I will put them before the government as a parliamentarian".
Those present in the meeting objected to Tiwari and asked if he had studied the legislation and reports by a parliamentary committee in connection with the 2013 Land Acquisition Act and whether he favoured the bill in Lok Sabha without going through it.
"In my view, Manoj ji is a good guy. But we can't just let him off saying that he was unaware of the issue. Didn't he study the previous reports?" Abhishek Joshi, an associate of Govindacharya, reacted.
The SJM also emphasised that multi-cropped irrigated land should not be acquired to ensure food security.