Congress spreading misinformation on land bill: BJP

New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) The BJP on Monday accused the Congress of spreading misinformation against the land acquisition bill, saying it was the main opposition party which took a U-turn on the bill and not the government.

“Congress chief ministers had favoured bringing changes in the UPA’s Land Acquisition Act, 2013, as under it, the acquisition process was very difficult and lengthy.

“But when we brought the bill with changes as per their demand, they started opposing it by calling it anti-farmer,” union Rural Development Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said at a press conference.

“The Centre has ordered bringing all those 13 Acts under the purview of the land law which were exempted from the UPA legislation. Still our government is ready to accept any suggestion which will be in the interest of farming community,” the minister added.

He accused the Congress of running a “misinformation campaign” in the name of rights of farmers.

“If somebody really had concern for farmers, it is us. Whatever will be done will be in farmers’ interest. The Congress is spreading misinformation against the bill as it is trying to find an issue to regain its lost ground,” Birender Singh said.

Commerce and Industries Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was also present at the press conference, took a dig at the Congress over their U-turn on the land bill.

“Actually the Congress and its chief ministers made a U-turn on land bill. We tried our very best to involve these chief ministers but due to their rigid approach, we could not move forward,” she said.

Sitharaman said that rather than allowing the parliamentary stalemate to carry on, the Centre followed an alternate route which will give flexibility to states to change land acquisition laws as per their requirement.

She said the decision to let the land acquisition ordinance lapse was not a setback for the government.

Questioning the Congress about the surplus land acquired in the name of SEZs, Sitharaman alleged that it was the Congress which had surrendered the rights of farmers and the BJP-led government restored it.

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