New Delhi: Accusing the Modi government of antipathy towards farmers, Social activist Anna Hazare on Monday launched a two-day agitation against the controversial land acquisition ordinance here, coinciding with the commencement of the Budget session of Parliament.
77-year-old Hazare and Narmada Bachao movement activist Medha Patekar were joined by hundreds of supporters at Jantar Mantar and the activist said he will take the movement against the ordinance to each and every district of the country.
Mr. Hazare said he will not allow AAP or Congress to share stage with him at the protest venue and the two parties can join it as part of common people.
“How can you take away land without farmer’s consent. India is an agricultural country. The government must think about the farmers. The land ordinance is undemocratic,” Mr. Hazare said.
“The government cannot be indifferent to the farmers’ interest. This is government of people of India and not of England or America. It is the people who have made the government,” he said.
Terming it as a very serious issue, Hazare said he will take the agitation across the country and will come back to the Ramlila grounds soon if the government does not heed farmers’ demand.
“People in the villages are still not aware of this (amendments). Now, we will make people of every state and district aware of the provisions (of the ordinance). It is important to reach out to every district,” he said.
Mr. Hazare has been highly critical of the Modi government for making certain changes in the Land Acquisition Act through an ordinance.
On December 29 last year, the government had recommended promulgation of an ordinance making significant changes in the Land Acquisition Act including removal of consent clause for acquiring land for five areas of industrial corridors, PPP projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence.
When asked whether AAP and Congress can join the agitation, Mr. Hazare said, “They will be not be allowed to share the stage because if I allow, then it will become a party event. They are free to join the crowd. No one can stop them.”
Asked whether he will miss his one-time proteges Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi in the protest, he said, “Why will we miss them? We don’t have any personal motive or interest. If there is a personal motive or interest, then they will be missed. These are people’s issues.”
Slamming the Centre on the land ordinance, he said it must be withdrawn immediately.
“After Independence, this is for the first time, the farmers are facing so much of injustice under the current government after it brought the ordinance on the Land Acquisition,” he said.
“The 2013 Land Acquisition Act said unless 70 per cent of the villagers where the land has to be acquired give their consent, the land cannot be acquired. But this government removed this provision. This has been done for the benefit of corporates.
“Before the elections, the people were promised ‘Acche Din’ (good days), they trusted (the party) and voted for them.
"Today they are forcibly taking away the land from farmers. So the ‘Acche Din’ are for the corporates not for the common man,” he said.
Mr. Hazare said after 3-4 months of Padayatra at district and block level across the country, a “jail-bharo” movement will be launched from Ramlila ground here.
Addressing the gathering Ms. Patkar said, “We need Ralegan Siddhi model and not the Gujarat model of development which has left Saurashtra thirsty.”