Congress Starts Agitation Over Land Ordinance in UP villages that Fought for Land Rights

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Congress Starts Agitation Over Land Ordinance in UP villages that Fought for Land Rights

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Former Union minister Jairam Ramesh at Bhatta Parsaul.

Parsaul, Uttar Pradesh:  The Congress has set the ball rolling on its action plan to take on the Union government over the land ordinance, issuing a call to action to farmers. The venue was the twin villages of Bhatta Parsaul in Uttar Pradesh, close to Delhi, which had been the flashpoint of land agitation in 2011.

Former rural development minister Jairam Ramesh attended a panchayat there to discuss the implications of the ordinance today, a day after the Congress brainstorming session to revive the party.

Bad weather failed to play spoilsport - nearly 2000 farmers turned up for the meeting.

"The time has come for Bhatta Parsaul to come together and once again tell government that we have to go back to the earlier law," Mr Ramesh told them.

Calling Bhatta Parsaul an "important milestone" for a "just law on land acquisition", Mr Ramesh told NDTV the ordinance "will bring violence back" since it has "removed (the power of) consent from the farmers."

Addressing the BJP, he said, "you have ghar vapsi and but no zameen vapsi (home coming but no return of land)."

Two men from the villages had been killed in the clash with the police in 2011 and most of the farmers said they did not want a repeat of violence.

"We just want our rights to the land and fair compensation," said Nakul Mallik, a resident of Parsaul village.

Reminding farmers that his party had campaigned with them in bringing the Land Acquisition Bill, Mr Ramesh said the Congress will raise the matter both inside Parliament and out.

Admitting that the land agitation was an "important issue for the political mobilisation of the Congress," the former minister defended the opposition's move to stall Rajya Sabha.

Along with several awareness rallies, the Congress also plans to reach out to other parties to build consensus against the ordinance ahead of the budget session.


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