New Delhi/Lucknow: The ongoing agitation by farmers in Noida demanding better compensation for their land acquired by the Uttar Pradesh government turned uglier on Thursday with Congress and BJP lending their support to them and Chief Minister Mayawati accusing opposition parties of spreading "false rumours" and doing "dirty politics".
A day after Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi made a dramatic entry into the Bhatta Parsaul village in Greater Noida and held a dharna supporting farmers' agitation for better compensation for their land, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati accused him of engaging in "cheap politics ".
Hitting back at the opposition, Mayawati said the clashes in Greater Noida had nothing to do with the issue of land compensation and accused the Congress, BJP and other parties of attempting to disturb law and order by spreading "rumours" while dubbing Gandhi's dharna as "mean theatrics".
"By spreading lies and rumours, opposition parties are attempting to disturb law and order situation by misleading people and Bhatta Parsaul incident is an example of their dirty politics," Mayawati told reporters in Lucknow.
However, Congress was quick to jump to his defence lambasting the BSP chief for the arrest and subsequent release of Gandhi saying that Mayawati government was "digging its own grave"
through such actions and her reaction was "due to frustration" as she has realised that she would be voted out in the next Assembly elections.
Slamming the use of force on agitating farmers as “brutal and barbaric” the Congress party also demanded a judicial probe into the atrocities committed by the police at the behest of Uttar Pradesh government.
Congress, while strictly opposing the forcible acquisition of land belonging to poor farmers, demanded that their consent must be taken before acquiring their lands.
The Congress also demanded that the state government should immediately release those farmers and poor villagers who were arrested by the police during last week’s protests. Also the police should withdraw all the cases registered against them.
Meanwhile, Senior BJP leaders Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, UPCC president Rita Bahuguna Joshi and Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait along with their supporters were detained by UP Police while they were agitating in support of farmers of Greater Noida who are seeking more compensation from the state government for their acquired land.
Joshi and scores of Congress leaders, including legislators, and workers were baton-charged and detained in Lucknow and elsewhere during a statewide 'chakka jam' protest by the party against the arrest of Gandhi in Bhatta Parsaul last night and in support of farmers' demands in western UP.
Similar protests were held in other parts of the state including Jhansi, Meerut, Allahabad and Sitapur districts.
The Congress had announced a state-wide chakka jam to protest Gandhi's arrest in Bhatta Parsaul last night and in support of farmers' demands in western UP.
After a three-hour midnight drama of arrest and release, Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi was finally escorted back to Delhi by the UP police through the DND expressway and left at the inter-state bus terminus at Sarai Kale Khan early morning.
Undertaking a fast in support of agitating farmers in western UP, BJP leader Rajnath Singh said Chief Minister Mayawati should step down and the state government stop acquiring land until the Land Acquisition Amendment Bill is passed by Parliament.
As the tug of war intensified between BSP and Congress, the Centre today announced that a new law for better compensation to farmers will be introduced shortly in the Parliament.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram stepped in to promise a new land acquisition law for better compensation and rehabilitation to farmers in the next session of Parliament in July.
The farmers are agitating for higher compensation for land acquired for the 156-km Yamuna Expressway, linking New Delhi with Agra, a dream project of the chief minister.
With Rahul Gandhi seizing the initiative by staging a daylong sit-in at Bhatta-Parsaul over the emotive issue, after sneaking into the area riding pillion on a motorcycle, Mayawati government seems to be at the back foot at the moment. The issue has led to four people being killed in clashes.
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Friday, May 13, 2011, 07:54