Congress plans mega rally to mark land Bill victory

Jaswinder Singh Baidwan

Akhran da mureed
Staff member
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 6
The Congress is gearing up to celebrate the government’s climbdown on land Bill by organising a mega farmers’ rally later this month.
Preparations for the rally, to be addressed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, are in full swing with the party scheduling a meeting of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leaders in the Capital tomorrow.
The CLP leaders’ meet is one in a series of many preparatory meetings for the mega rally whose dates will be finalised at the September 8 meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), the party’s highest decision-making body.
For tomorrow’s meeting, the party has invited leaders from predominantly agrarian states such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Punjab CLP leader Sunil Jakhar has been invited. The leaders will be asked to galvanise support for the rally and help make it a success.
After the Kisan rally organised by the Congress last April, this will be the second major political event to be organised by the party against the NDA government.
The Congress hopes to make a political statement with this rally ahead of Bihar elections where it will fight as part of the JDU-led grand alliance. The idea is to put the BJP government on the back foot and claim credit for the massive dilution of the land ordinance that replaced the UPA’s law.
The CWC will take a call on the time and scale of the rally that will be attended by top Congress leadership.
Meetings on rally preparations have been on since three days now, with Sonia personally monitoring the details.
Sources in the Congress say the party will credit land Bill dilution to the sustained struggle of farmers coupled with their consistent political pressure built on the government in the Joint Committee of Parliament (JCP) on the Bill.
The JCP has to submit its report on the Bill by November. In the earlier meetings, the ruling BJP members withdrew contentious clauses in the land ordinance, including scrapping of consent and social impact assessment provisions for land acquisitions for a specified category of projects.