Sonia Gandhi Writes to Anna Hazare, Vows to Oppose Land Bill

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New Delhi:  Congress President Sonia Gandhi has expressed her agreement with the concerns of Gandhian Anna Hazare on the National Democratic Alliance government’s land bill and vowed to oppose it at all fora.

Mrs Gandhi yesterday wrote a letter to the social activist in reply to his earlier missive and referred to the protest march to President House by the representatives of 14 parties on the issue.

Leaders of 14 political parties led by Sonia Gandhi yesterday marched from Parliament to Rashtrapati Bhavan against amendments to the land acquisition act.

“I have got your letter dated March 14 in which you have talked about your doubts about the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015.”

“I am in agreement with your views that the Ordinance of the NDA government and the amendment bill, which is now before Parliament, is not in the interest of farmers,” Mrs Gandhi wrote.

Asserting that Congress will oppose this bill on all fora, Mrs Gandhi cited the protest march by parties and President’s intervention into the matter as an example of their opposition to the bill.

“I want to assure you that our fight on this issue will continue,” she said.

The exchange of letters between Congress President and Mr Hazare have come amid signs of some bonhomie between the party and the Gandhian, with Mr Hazare sometime praising Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for his role in getting the Lokpal bill passed by Parliament.

Many in the party believe that it was the anti-corruption campaign led by Mr Hazare in 2011 that had laid to the built up on an anti-Congress sentiment across the country after which it suffered its worst-ever poll debacle in 2014 Lok Sabha polls in which it was reduced to only 44 seats from 206 that it had won in 2009 general elections.

In April 2011, Mr Hazare sat on a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar which later on led to a massive movement against corruption during which the UPA was at the receiving end.

NDA’s new land law seems to have brought them together. Last month, Anna Hazare held a protest at Jantar Mantar against the land bill in the first major public agitation against the BJP-led government. Congress held a protest at the venue after that in which it had invited Mr Hazare as well.

While they did not attend each other’s protest, the bonhomie is visible.

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