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Sonia Gandhi: 14 parties marched to protect the interest of farmers!

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Indian National Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi march towards Presidential Palace against Land Aquisition Bill.New Delhi, March 18 – Congress president Sonia Gandhi led over 100 leaders from 14 opposition parties as they marched in a massive show of strength against the controversial Land Acquisition Bill to President’s House in New Delhi on Tuesday.

“Fourteen political parties have come together here to protect the interest of the farmers and ask the Modi government not to go ahead with amendments in Rajya Sabha,” Sonia said. The amendments to a land bill passed by the UPA government in 2013 were ratified by the Lok Sabha last week and now face the big test in Rajya Sabha, where the BJP is in a minority.

“All secular, democratic and forward-looking forces are determined to defeat the Modi government’s designs to promote divisions and disharmony,” Sonia told reporters before a delegation of 26 leaders met President Pranab Mukherjee.

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Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav, who coordinated the unprecedented show of strength by the opposition parties, said, “The 69 per cent have come together. It is the beginning of a war against the government which will not spread to all the villages and towns across India.” He said it is the farmers who made this country self-reliant and they cannot be let down.

The march started from the Mahatma Gandhi statue outside Parliament around 5 pm and reached the sprawling Rashtrapati Bhavan half an hour later. Other leaders who walked with Sonia included Sonia included former prime ministerManmohan Singh, Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor, Kamal Nath, Raj Babbar, Ambika Soni and Veerappa Moily, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D Raja,

Trinamool Congress leaders Derek O’Brien and Dinesh Trivedi, the DMK’s Kanimozhi and the INLD’s Dushyant Chautala. The route of the unprecedented km-long march in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi was cleared of all vehicular traffic and heavy security was deployed along the way.

Indian National Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi march towards Presidential Palace against Land Aquisition Bill.Delhi Police plans restrictions, then relents:

After an uproar in Parliament over reports of Delhi Police planning prohibitions on the way, it was later clarified that the march will be allowed. “There are no prohibitory orders in place. We will not stop a peaceful march,” Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi said. There were reports that the cops had enforced Section 144 in the area around Rashtrapati Bhavan to discourage the march.

“Section 144 is not for peaceful protests,” Bassi said. The restrictions rocked the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. “We won’t stop and will continue the march,” Janata Dal-United chief Sharad Yadav, who is coordinating the joint protest, said.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury called it a “violation of basic rights” to protest. Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi denied the charges that the government was using the state machinery to stop the march. “Nobody can take away your rights,” he said.

Indian National Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi march towards Presidential Palace against Land Aquisition Bill.Why Sonia leading the march is significant:

Sonia attending the march is significant since neither she nor her son and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi were seen at the massive protest against the land bill organised by the Youth Congress at New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Monday,

which was a culmination of the party’s padyatra from Bhatta Parsaul village in neighbouring Noida that began four days back. Rahul had led his party from the front during the days the UPA drafted and passed the Land Acquisition Act in 2013, making sure it is not perceived as anti-farmer.

Indian National Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi presents a memorendum to the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee.What is the Congress charge against land bill?

Accusing the BJP government of “high-handedness” and carrying out a “brutal lathicharge” on its party workers who took to the streets against the Land Acquisition bill, the Congress on Monday vowed to take its protest on the issue in every nook and corner of the country.

Attacking the government for making changes in the Land Acquisition Act, Sharad Yadav said the ordinance has substantially diluted the previous Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 Act,

which are against the interests of farmers. The Lok Sabha had passed the controversial bill with nine amendments last week but the government faces an uphill task in the Rajya Sabha, where it is woefully short of a majority.

-INDIA TODAY