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Joint sitting may backfire on BJP during state polls

Assam is another state where majority of the electorate is dependent on land and the issue can cost BJP dear in 2016 polls.

Updated: Apr 08, 2015, 04.26 AM IST
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 Assam is another state where majority of the electorate is dependent on land and the issue can cost BJP dear in 2016 polls.
 Assam is another state where majority of the electorate is dependent on land and the issue can cost BJP dear in 2016 polls.
NEW DELHI: BJP seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place on the land acquisition bill as convening a joint sitting of Parliament for passage of such a crucial legislation is likely to benefit Opposition parties in the forthcoming elections to Bihar and West Bengal. Unlike the insurance, mining and coal bills, the land bill is a sensitive law that affect millions. In Bihar, an agrarian state where polls are due in October, RJD-JDU have already begun telling the electorate that if the bill is passed the government would take away land from farmers without consent. In West Bengal, TMC as well as the Left and Congress, are likely to do the same. Assam is another state where majority of the electorate is dependent on land and the issue can cost BJP dear in 2016 polls.

Coming back to the joint sitting, there have been only three bills – anti-dowry bill during Nehru’s premership, banking services commissions repeal bill during Indira Gandhi’s regime and Pota during NDA regime – that have been passed at joint sittings so far. Union ministers conceded that none of the bills was as sensitive as the land bill. BJP sections feel Joint Sitting may Backfire on BJP During State Polls that land being a touchy issue in urban and rural areas, the Opposition can easily give it an antipeople tag. Passing the bill at a joint sitting would invite brickbats from Congress, Left parties, Trinamool Congress, DMK, JD (U) and others.

As of now, even Shiv Sena is opposed to the bill. The government has made efforts to scale down the opposition to the legislation and so getting requisite numbers in the Rajya Sabha appears to be the better option for it. Accepting more amendments – something the government is ruling out emphatically at the moment – may help gather more support. Complete removal of the consent clause and social impact assessment have fanned the resistance. Though the government had managed to break Opposition unity on the caol and mines bills, the Opposition is united on the land bill. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi even led a team of MPs representing 14 political parties to the President against the bill.

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