New Delhi: With yet another ally Apna Dal on Thursday expressing reservations over the new land bill, government said it was open to considering suggestions in farmers interest but accused Congress and other parties of attempting to project industry and infrastructure in bad light that would harm the country.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley led the government charge targeting mainly Congress over its campaign on the new bill, saying the need to create industry and infrastructure has become the "biggest offence" now.
He also said the entire discourse on the bill that will replace the ordinance was "misguided" and must come to an end.
"The issue is whether we want this country to grow or not? Or we want all investments to be diverted to other countries," he said intervening in a discussion on the motion of thanks to President's address in the Rajya Sabha.
"I appeal to all of you with folded hands, especially to the Congress party. The need to create industry and infrastructure has become the biggest offence now. Don't create an atmosphere in this country where two words "infrastructure" and "industry" become bad words. And this is what you are doing," he said.
Jaitley, who was interrupted by Congress leaders Anand Sharma and Jairam Ramesh, said the debate was not between rich and poor and farmer and non-farmer.
"This is between adding to the poverty of India and making India poor for the next two decades," he said.
Taunting former Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, who made an effective case for the industry in the UPA government in the context of the land bill, Jaitley said he fully supported Sharma but it was Jairam Ramesh (then Rural Development Minister) who pursuaded the Prime Minister and brought a tough law.
"Are we reaching a stage where industry becomes a bad word?" he said while talking of the ease of doing business in the country.
He pointed out that "you cannot espect a foreign investor to come and invest and set up industry and provide jobs but has to first get consent of 70 per cent of farmers whose land is taken and then the government would. On the other hand, there is a state where government continues to hold land.