New Delhi, May 12: Faced with stiff resistance from opposition and allies, government was today forced to refer the controversial Land Acquisition Bill to a Joint Committee of Parliament after Rahul Gandhi led the attack on it.
The government, which had promulgated ordinance twice on the bill since December last after it faced similar resistance earlier, agreed to refer it to the 30-member committee after allies Shiv Sena and Akali Dal joined opposition in Lok Sabha in opposing it.
The Joint Committee of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will have to submit its report on the first day of Monsoon session on the bill which has already been passed by the Lower House.
The House saw acrimonious scenes and clashes during a short debate on the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement (second) Amendment Bill, which is aimed at altering the Act brought by UPA in 2013.
Replying to the debate, Rural Development Minister Birender Singh rejected the opposition charge that the bill is against the interests of farmers but maintained that development has to be undertaken as well. "The bill is in favour of farmers...We have to strengthen both the wheels -- farmers and industry -- to develop the country," he said.
Earlier, a combative Rahul Gandhi led the opposition attack on the government and vowed to oppose it inside and outside Parliament. Shiv Sena and Akali Dal demanded that the bill be sent to a joint parliamentary committee.
Asserting that Congress will fiercely resist within and outside Parliament the attempt of "suit-boot ki sarkar" to "grab" farmers' land, Rahul accused the government of being "in a hurry to pass this bill" as it wanted to acquire land for industrialist "friends" and crony capitalists.