Ahead of the crucial Land Acquisition Bill coming up for voting in the Lok Sabha tomorrow, the Shiv Sena kept the government on tenterhooks by saying it has not taken any decision on supporting the legislation or otherwise.
"We have given our suggestions to the Prime Minister in writing. We will act according to the direction of the party chief Uddhav Thackeray," party leader Sanjay Raut toldPTI, indicating that the bill in its present form was not accepatable to the party. Shiv Sena is the second largest constituent of the BJP-led NDA, having 18 members in the Lower House and three in the Upper House.
Its ambivalance is significant at a time when almost the entire opposition is ranged against the controversial legislation which the Congress and other parties are accusing of being "pro-corporate" and "anti-farmers".
In the Lok Sabha today, Sena MP Arvind Sawant said the government should look at the possibility of taking land of farmers on lease rather than acquiring it as it would ensure steady flow of income to the displaced persons. He also demanded that the government should not do away with the consent clause and the requirement of social impact assessment for acquiring land, while regretting that people whose land were acquired 25 years ago were yet to be rehabilitated properly.
Reports had it that Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and also Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis had reached out to the Sena leadership in a bit to seek its support. While the Modi dispensation has adequate numbers inthe Lok Sabha, it is not in a majority in the Upper House.