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More parties now opposing land bill: Congress

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New Delhi: The number of parties opposing the controversial land bill has “swelled” with some from the treasury benches joining the opposition bandwagon, Congress said today indicating that the government’s problems were far from over despite the bill being sent to a Joint Committee.

“By now, the number of opposition parties including those which are not in the opposition, has swelled… They are not with government on the land bill,” Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

Addressing a press conference, along with Leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Azad said earlier leaders of 14 opposition parties had marched to the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the issue.

Asked whether Congress was in favour of re-promulgation of the land ordinance, Azad said it was a matter for the government to decide after considering legal aspects.

Dismissing speculation that there were differences within the Congress over participation in the Joint Committee, Azadsaid it would have been ideal if the Act brought by the UPA government had been allowed to continue. “As the government is adamant, let us go to parliamentary scrutiny,” he said.

Noting that Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi guided the party in the just-concluded Budget Session, Kharge said they spoke on various issues ranging from farmers’ plight to net neutrality and transparency in government functioning.

Seeking to dismiss government claims that the opposition put brakes on legislation-making initiatives, Kharge charged the Modi dispensation with “bulldozing” all bills through the Lok Sabha using its “brute majority” as the Congress was just 44 in a House of 543. This is “undemocratic” behaviour, he said.

Both Kharge and Azad charged the government with making attempts to “escape” parliamentary scrutiny.

Kharge said this was evident from the fact that out of a total of 55 bills only five or six have been referred to the standing committee. These bills, he said, included four bills which were referred yesterday, last day of the Budget Session.

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