At a time when the Opposition is beginning to speak in different voices over key legislations such as the Coal Mines Bill and the Mines and Minerals Bill, the Centre faced fresh resistance on Tuesday over the Land Acquisition Bill.

MPs belonging to 14 opposition parties met President Pranab Mukherjee and requested him not to sign the land ordinance if the NDA government re-promulgates it. Terming the legislation anti-farmer, opposition leaders said nationwide protests are being held against the Bill by various farmers groups and political outfits.

The joint rally is being interpreted as an effort to consolidate the opposition benches as the government is reaching out to regional outfits to secure support to key legislations in the Rajya Sabha.

Former Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, Trinamool Congress leader Swagato Roy and several other MPs were part of the delegation that marched from the Parliament House to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Prohibitive orders

Earlier, both the Houses witnessed uproarious scenes over a directive from Delhi police that the march should not be held as prohibitive orders have been issued in the area.

However, later, the Centre told the Rajya Sabha that there is no prohibition on the MPs’ march to the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Opposition parties said they will fight in a united manner against the Land Bill. The memorandum submitted by the leaders urged the President not to go ahead with the amendments in the Rajya Sabha and maintained that the Bill is aimed at promoting divisions and social disharmony in the country.

“We have come together to oppose the Narendra Modi government’s amendments to the right of fair compensation and transparency in Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation resettlement act 2013. All the progressive, secular, democratic and forward looking forces are determined to defeat the Modi government’s design to promote divisions and social disharmony,” Sonia Gandhi said.

She further said they met the President to request him to intervene to protect the interest of farmers and to impress upon the Modi government not to go ahead with the amendments in the Rajya Sabha. “These are some of the reasons for which we have come here,” she added.

Historic move

CPI(M) leader in the Lok Sabha P Karunakaran said the march was a historic move by the opposition parties.

“At least we could give a message to the farmers of this country that we are with them in this issue. The government is bypassing all parliamentary norms to push such Bills to keep the corporate houses happy,” he added.