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Landing in trouble.

Rajeev Sharma

How difficult it is to govern India! None other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi must be wondering so even after winning a record mandate and obliterating the opposition in the Indian general elections just about nine months ago. On Feb. 24, the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government introduced a key legislation the land acquisition amendment bill in Lok Sabha amid uproar by the opposition and noisy walkout by the Congress party. The opposition has termed the legislation as "anti-farmer." Even Shiv Sena, a BJP ally and a coalition partner in the BJP-led government in Maharashtra, is opposed to the land acquisition bill. If Modi wants to deliver on his electoral promises, he has to ensure that land is acquired with ease across the country for infrastructure projects, which are crucial for growth. Infrastructure projects worth over $300 billion are pending as the authorities have not been able to get possession of land which is the very first requirement for kicking off the growth story. To do this Modi has to seek the parliamentary nod to the above-mentioned legislation, which seeks to amend the original Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act. Modi wants to put India on a high growth trajectory like every well meaning prime minister should do. But then in the highly divisive Indian polity this is easier said than done. The reason is the crab mentality of Indian political parties and politicians; they claw back any crab who is attempting to get out of the bucket. This is the challenge Modi is facing today and will continue to face. If Modi is able to give the much- needed boost to Indian economy and if the growth momentum picks up by breaking shackles of red tape and archaic business-unfriendly laws then he would be a successful premier. And Modi's success would surely ring the death knell of the entire opposition. This is the sub text in the template of Indian politics. The entire opposition has ganged up against Modi to deny him success in his endeavor because this is what his party, the BJP, has done throughout past one decade of the Congress rule from 2004 to 2014. In a way, the BJP is now getting the taste of its own medicine. Modi has tried his best to don the mantle of a secular leader, an inclusive leader, a statesman who puts the nation first before caste, creed or religion. He has tried his hardest to woo opposition leaders. In past few days he shared dais with Sharad Pawar, leader of the regional party Nationalist Congress Party, at a public function in Maharashtra where he praised the Maratha leader to the skies. A few days ago, he traveled to Sefai in Uttar Pradesh, the parliamentary constituency of Mulayam Singh Yadav, to attend a pre-wedding bash of his grandnephew's marriage with the daughter of another regional satrap Lalu Prasad Yadav. Modi did so just days before the Budget Session of the Parliament got under way on Feb. 23 in the hope that he would be able to win over the opposition leaders with this kind of public diplomacy. But nothing of the sort happened and all regional satraps stuck to their respective party positions when the Modi government introduced in Parliament on Feb. 24 the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in the Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill 2015 which will replace an ordinance promulgated by the Modi government on Dec. 30. To rock Modi's boat further, social activist Anna Hazare descended on the national capital on Feb. 23 along with various farmers' unions to begin a protest against the Modi government on the land acquisition issue. Hazare was also briefly joined by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Feb 26, 2015
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