Business

Congress steps up agitation against land acquisition Bill

The Congress has thrown a considerable part of its machinery at the agitation against the government’s land acquisition Bill ahead of a rally at the Ramlila Maidan here on April 19.

The party has launched a coordinated campaign for tripping the government on the land issue. It is airing radio jingles in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, and has embarked on a 350-km march from Bodh Gaya to Champaran in Bihar to spread awareness about the Bill among farmers.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has used his ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio programme to put put across the government’s view of the campaign against the land Bill.

The Congress, too, is using the medium to generate publicity for its April 19 rally and to spread awareness of how the National Democratic Alliance overturned what it describes as a farmer-friendly Bill introduced by the previous government.

A special party committee spearheading preparations for the farmers’  rally has disseminated specifications of banners, hoardings and posters for state Congress units to translate into various languages. Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son and party vice-president, Rahul Gandhi, are the leading faces for the publicity material.

Sensing the land Bill agitation as a cause strong enough to lift the party out of despair over its defeat in the 2014 general elections, the Congress has directed state units to build up a ground swell on the issue. Sonia Gandhi has visited neighbouring states to highlight farm distress and has rallied the Opposition to march to President Pranab Mukherjee’s office against the NDA’s land Bill.

“We are focused on exposing the ills of the land acquisition law, the destruction of crops and the support price of wheat through public meetings, hoardings, radio jingles and interaction at the district and block level,” Congress communication chief Randeep Surjewala told Business Standard.

The organising committee, headed by Digvijaya Singh and A K Antony, has been holding regular meetings to take stock of preparations for the rally that will see farmers coming into Delhi from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The Bihar Congress unit, headed by Ashok Chaudhary, has started on a 350 km 17-day padyatra from Bodh Gaya to Champaran to inform farmers about the legislation and the government’s intention to cut back on the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, a flagship welfare programme of the United Progressive Alliance government.

In Uttar Pradesh, the state party unit has flagged off a ‘Sankalp Diwas’, generating publicity for the rally in Delhi.

ON THE AGENDA

  • ‘Kisan and Khet Mazdoor’ rally at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi on April 19
     
  • Radio jingles and spots in Hindi, Haryanvi, Braj languages
     
  • Visual publicity through hoardings, posters and pamphlets
     
  • Extensive padyatras, ‘jan sabhas’ and public meetings to spread awareness on ‘anti-farmer’ clauses of the Bill
     
  • Spreading awareness about ‘anti-farmer’ policies of the NDA govt, in terms of wheat MSP and compensation for crop damage