By Abhishek Jha:
After hollering several times against the Land Acquisition Bill, it was only natural that the Congress vice-president intervened again in the parliament when the bill was introduced. Rahul Gandhi, who has also recently locked horns with Smriti Irani over the cancellation of a food park in Amethi, gave another power-packed performance in the parliament on Tuesday.
Ever since his return from a sabbatical, the Gandhi scion has stepped up and taken the charge to the other camp (now with a twitter handle too), without which there seemed to be no opposition to the government’s whims. In a 10 minute intervention, he highlighted the major pitfalls in the LAB, which has already had a brief run as an ordinance. Likening each anti-farmer move to a step towards the death and dismembering of the farmer, a rather fierce (by his own standard) RaGa made a cadaver of BJP’s repeated attempts at defending the bill.
It was important that he pointed out that social impact assessment, under the previous act’s provisions, is done only in 6 months and not in an indefinite time as the Prime Minister seemed to suggest in a Mann Ki Baat some time ago. Removal of the consent clause and the provision to allow the acquired land to be kept even beyond five years without the project being started were the other two pro-corporate amendments pointed out. Emboldened perhaps by his previous performances and with the aid of Jyotiraditya Scindia and other Congress MPs, he repeatedly took jibes at the “friends” of BJP. The names of Ambani and Adani flew repeatedly from the Congress camp whenever the BJP tried to stop Rahul Gandhi from speaking.
It is the concluding joke that Gandhi tells, which perhaps summarises Indian politics. The big, suited, front door, daylight thief might be the BJP, but there is no denying that Congress didn’t rob the nation to night. It is Congress’s loot in fact that has allowed the BJP to take seat and loot in daylight. But Congress sits in the opposition right now, and as that doesn’t seem to change anytime soon; it is relieving to see RaGa find his feet.