New Delhi, March 17: The opposition is determined to defeat the government's controversial land acquisition bill, Congress president Sonia Gandhi declared on Tuesday after leading leaders of 14 political parties in a protest march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
In the first major display of opposition unity after the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Gandhi told the media that they had urged President Pranab Mukherjee not to let the government go ahead with the bill, saying it would badly hurt the interests of farmers.
Gandhi said that "democratic, secular and forward looking forces are determined to defeat the (Narendra) Modi government's designs" to promote corporate interests at the cost of farmers by taking away their land.
The protest that Gandhi led drew members of 14 political parties, including her own Congress, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal-United, Janata Dal-Secular, the DMK, the Communists, Trinamool Congress and Nationalist Congress Party.
Former prime minister Manmohan Singh also joined the protest.
JD-U leader Sharad Yadav said Tuesday's protest had brought together all the opposition forces that had got scattered since the Lok Sabha election catapulted the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party to power.
"This is a land of farmers. It is the farmers who have made this country self-sufficient in food. To snatch their land is a sin," he said.
"This is the beginning of a major battle that will be waged in every nook and corner of the country," he said.