The Hypocrisy Of Opposition On Land Acquisition

Tavleen Singh, in her weekly column in the Indian Express of date, exposes hypocrisy of the opposition leaders; in her inimitable style.

“Speaking of secularism, what puzzled me most was Sonia Gandhi’s assertion that changes in the land law would endanger secularism. This is not just bizarre, but very confusing. Our opposition leaders are truly stuck in a time warp. On the day they marched up Raisina Hill, The New York Times carried a story that said, ‘By 2050, India will need new urban infrastructure to house an additional 404 million people — a task comparable to building every city in the United States in just 35 years’.

That is the scale of the problem that we face. And how are we going to deal with it under a land law that ensures that it will take a minimum of three years before land can be acquired? This is without accounting for court cases and other difficulties that will arise when you try to get the consent of 80 per cent of the local population before acquiring land for a road, a city or a port.

The Prime Minister’s biggest mistake in the past eight months has been his reluctance to explain these things to the people of India in the way that he has explained social problems. Even now, what he needs to show is the sort of boldness and courage that he showed when he abolished that symbol of Nehruvian stagnation: the Planning Commission.

In making hesitant changes to a very bad law, he has given dormant, defunct opposition leaders a chance to lie repeatedly about how the changes are ‘anti-farmer’ and ‘pro-corporate’. This is as absurd as saying that building cities is anti-farmer. Is it not farmers and their children who have been moving to urban areas in millions because there are quite simply no jobs left in the agricultural sector? The whole horrible truth is that those who live on the pavements of Mumbai and Delhi make more money than they would if they stayed home in their villages. The reason why only Modi can speak of these things is because he has made it clear that he wants a new model of ‘vikas’. The opposition leaders who tottered up Raisina Hill lost because they failed to convince India’s voters that the old way was the right way.” (from the article)



Read the article here.