Congress will oppose land bill tooth and nail: Shashi Tharoor

| Monday, April 20, 2015 - 08:33
First Published |

Congress will oppose land bill tooth and nail: Shashi Tharoor

New Delhi: As parliament reconvenes this week after the intra-session break, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said on Sunday that the party will oppose the land acquisition bill "tooth and nail" as well as any "divisive and confrontational" policies of the Narendra Modi government.

Tharoor also termed Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's address at a farmer's rally here as a "new boost" to the party's momentum.

Tharoor, a Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, said the party had been "very constructive in parliament" and had supported the BJP-led NDA on the insurance bill.

"We supported those issues which we believe were in the national interest. We believe the amendments in the land acquisition bill are not in the national interest; and we will oppose it tooth and nail in whatever forums that are available to us; in this case the committees as well as Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha," Tharoor told IANS.

He said: "Whenever they (government) brings in anything that is divisive or confrontational, we will rise to the challenge; where they are doing things we are willing to consider positively we'll be constructive.

"We are not like the BJP that brought a no confidence motion against the UPA government, while as we know from WikiLeaks, simultaneously assuring American envoys that they really did not mean it. That kind of hypocrisy in the opposition we don't have."

To a question on Rahul Gandhi's speech at a farmers' rally, his first after his 56-day-long absence, Tharoor said Congress workers "felt very inspired and positive about" the development.

"My impression is that we have not only had a success, but the momentum when that has already begun with Sonia Gandhi's efforts earlier, when we marched to Rashtrapati Bhavan earlier; that momentum has been given a new boost by what's happened today; and it will continue. Parliament is also starting," he said.

On March 17, Sonia Gandhi had led an opposition march against the land bill to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

To a question on Rahul's long absence, Tharoor told IANS: I don't want to speak for any individuals. It's not right; Rahul-ji will speak for himself, but from the party's point of view, with the leadership very much in charge, the president and the vice president, everyone is looking forward to showing the nation that we are not only back but that we never went away."

Asked about voices in the party saying that Sonia should remain the party president, Tharoor said: "I don't want to take a position on that, it isn't necessary; we have them both and we are lucky to have them both."

He added: "Inevitably, in every party at some point in the future, there will be a generational change; and when that will be depends on the leadership."

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