Tell farmers about ill effects of land law: Uddhav Thackeray to Sainiks

Ratcheting up pressure on the BJP-led government at the Centre over the land acquisition bill, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray today asked his party workers to propagate "ill effects" of the proposed law in its current format among farmers.

"People should know the stance we have taken. For this, Sena workers will propagate the ill effects (of the land acquisition ordinance) among farmers," senior Sena leader Subhash Desai said, after Uddhav addressed a meeting of party functionaries here.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray

Sena is an NDA ally. "Henceforth, (the government) will have to pay heed to others when it comes to important decisions," Desai, who is Industry Minister in the BJP-led government in Maharashtra, said while briefing media on a workshop organised for redevelopment of old and dilapidated buildings in Mumbai. "There is no question of making a U-turn on this issue," Desai said.

Cornered by the growing dissent to the legislation, the central government today said it was open to accepting "good" suggestions and insisted that the new measure was pro-farmer and pro-poor. Uddhav had said yesterday that there was no question of supporting any law that goes against the interest of farmers, reminding BJP that farmers had brought it to power by placing their trust in the party.

"Do not commit the sin of squeezing the throat of the farmers," he had said, adding the party was not opposed to economic development but, at the same time, could not allow it to take place through forced acquisition of land.

The Centre had issued the ordinance in December to exempt projects in defence, rural electrification, rural housing and industrial corridors from provisions of a law enacted by the previous Congress government that mandated the consent of 80 per cent of affected landowners for any deal.

The controversial measure also ends the need for companies to conduct a social impact assessment of such projects, which would involve public hearings and, industry executives fear, that drag on for years. To a query on an out-of-court settlement proposal for accommodating both Ram temple and mosque at Ayodhya, Desai said, "We will announce our stance when the government takes a concrete decision on the matter."

On the meeting of the Sena-BJP coordination committee held here yesterday, Desai said such panels are needed at state and national levels to discuss various issues. Desai defended the nightlife proposal in Mumbai mooted by Yuva Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray, saying "This will boost tourism."

When pointed out that this could lead to more law and order issues, Desai said, "It is the job of police to take care of that. I can say that crime rate won't increase if there is a vibrant nightlife in Mumbai."

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