Land Bill passed in LS; BJD stages walkout, Shiv Sena abstains

New Delhi: Members of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today staged walkout after the controversial Land Acquisition Bill was passed in Lok Sabha amid a heated debate in the Lower House even as the BJP government faced stiff resistance from not only the Opposition but also its key NDA allies.

Union Rural Development minister Birender Singh proposed amendments to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill-2015.

Along with BJD, MPs of Congress, Trinamool Congress, TRS, Samajwadi Party and RJD left the House while NDA ally Shiv Sena abstained as the Bill was passed by voice vote. Another NDA ally Swabhimani Paksha moved an amendment which was negated.

In an attempt to placate the Opposition and its unhappy allies, the government brought nine official amendments and added two clauses to the controversial legislation.

Notwithstanding its majority in Lok Sabha, BJP reached out to its allies, making last minute calls to their leaders to persuade them not to break ranks.

Opposition had moved 52 amendments, which were either negated or were not pressed for by the members.

Even while moving the Bill for consideration, Rural Development minister Birender Singh said the government has already incorporated several suggestions, many of them offered by the Opposition, and was willing to accept any more suggestions of the Opposition if those were in the interest of farmers.

The Bill is now set for the real test in Rajya Sabha where the NDA is in a minority and some allies are also not on board. The Opposition seems united in opposing it or sending it to a Parliamentary Committee.