The opposition Congress has planned a massive rally in New Delhi on April 19 to target the Narendra Modi government on the contentious land reforms. Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, whose is currently on a leave of absence from Parliament, is likely to attend, sources in the Congress said.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, who is leading the opposition’s charge from the front on the amendments to a 2013 law on land acquisition passed by the UPA, is expected to address the rally at the Ramlila Maidan, which will be attended by farmers from across the country.
Recently, Sonia had visited farmers in Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to protest the changes to the UPA law, which the Congress sees as its biggest opportunity to resurrect its image following crushing defeats in the recent elections.
It’s Sonia vs Modi on Land Bill
Earlier this month, the 68-year-old leader had also led a protest march of over 100 leaders from 14 opposition parties to the President’s House in New Delhi. Rahul had skipped that march.
There is also an intense letter war on between Union minister Nitin Gadkari and the Congress chief on the proposed law. The bill on land acquisition, which aims to amend the Act of 2013, was passed by the Lok Sabha during the first half of the Budget session but it got stuck due to opposition in the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA doesn’t have a majority.
Last week, the Modi government prorogued Rajya Sabha to pave the way for the re-promulgation of the controversial land ordinance, the current version of which lapses on April 5. According to rules, at least one of the Houses must be prorogued to enable the government to issue an ordinance.
Rahul Gandhi to attend Parliament
Sources in the Congress also said Rahul is likely to attend the Parliament on April 20 as it meets after the Budget session recess. He had twice extended his leave, leaving his embarrassed party spokespersons to explain the absence while his party takes on the Modi government on various issues.
Sonia Gandhi on Saturday had said Rahul will be back soon and assured the farmers of Rae Bareli, her parliamentary constituency, that he will visit them. “I think I am here on behalf of Rahul and Priyanka, and my family,” Sonia had said while responding to questions about Rahul’s absence from public scene.