Parsaul: Four years after party vice president Rahul Gandhi launched an agitation against forcible land acquisition in 2011 in this village in western Uttar Pradesh, Congress on Friday began a protest march from here against the new Land Acquisition Bill.
Calling the present bill "anti-farmer" and "pro-corporate", Congress declared that it will oppose it "tooth and nail" inside Parliament and outside.
Addressing a rally of around 200 people, former Union minister Jairam Ramesh said most of the parties are against the bill.
Party workers raised slogans of "Zameen Vapsi, Kanoon Vapsi (return land, bring back 2013 Land Acquisition law)" and began a march which would end at Rajghat on March 15.
On March 16, farmers, Congress activists and senior leaders will hold a rally at Jantar Mantar and plan to gherao the government.
Rubbishing the Prime Minister's claims that the bill is pro-farmer in nature, Ramesh said the Narendra Modi government is nothing but a "company sarkar".
"Let the Prime Minister say anything, but what has been written (in the bill), (which was) cleared in the Lok Sabha, (and) will be put in the Rajya Sabha, is in favour of corporate houses and industrialists. This is an anti-farmer government," he said.
"All opposition parties are of the same view and they will ensure that the bill is not cleared in the Rajya Sabha. Plus, BJD, some NDA members like Shiv Sena and Shiromani Akali Dal and groups like RSS and affiliated outfits of BJP are opposed to the amendments," Ramesh said.
"PM who wears a Rs 10 lakh suit and sells it for Rs 4 crore won't do justice to farmers," he said.
He also accused the BJP of doing a U-turn as it had supported the 2013 Act when the party was in opposition.
Asked why the party chose Bhatta-Parsaul villages for the protest, Ramesh said the Land Acquistion Act of 2013 has its roots in the 2011 agitation.
"This is a historic place. Rahul Gandhi had come here in 2011. Two youths had laid down their lives during the protests staged then. After that, the procedure to introduce new bill began in 2011 (which was later enacted as the Land Acquisition Act of 2013). So, the bill came in the backdrop of Bhatta Parsaul agitation. That is why we chose these villages," he said.