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People's bodies hold rally against land acquisition ordinance sans Congress despite previous decision for joint action

By Our Representative
The talk of a joint fight against the land acquisition ordinance appears to have shortlived. A National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM)-sponsored rally in Delhi saw significant absence of Congress and its leaders, who had decided to organize it on April 2. The rally, where large number of farmers, landless workers, fisherfolk and other sections of the rural population participated, was addressed by senior Left leaders, their opponents in West Bengal Tranamool Congress, a junior Janata Dal (United) leader, senior activists of the NAPM.

On April 2, in what seemed to be a unity of people's organizations and political parties across the spectrum, Congress, Communists and senior activists fighting against the land acquisition Bill, then pending clearance of the Rajya Sabha, joined hands to form a new body called Bhoomi Adhikar Sangharsh Andolan (BASA) as a “movement of land rights”, declaring their intention for hold a well-represented rallies in different states, culminating at Parliament Street on May 5.
Calling it continuation of “the joint movement against the draconian Land Acquisition Bill, 2015”, on April 2 the NAPM, which is the apex body of rights-based organizations in India, said, on May 5 there was going to be the third “massive protest” and which would be "bigger" than the one held on February 24. At the “strategy meeting”, it was decided to unite forces to launch “protests with massive participation in all states", before reaching Delhi.
Among those who had decided for the joint action on May 5 included Jairam Ramesh (Congress), Sitaram Yechury (Communist Party India-Marxist), D Raja (Communist Party of India), KC Tyagi (Janata Dal-United), and all the splinter left parties. While Congress, in the meanwhile, held its own rally, followed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). On May 5, if the NAPM statement is any indication, the Congress, which is the biggest of these parties, was conspicuous by its absence.
The May 5 rally was addressed, apart from Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader Medha Patkar and her partners, by CPI-M's Yechury, CPI's Raja, and JD-U's Rajya Sabha MP Pavan Verma, and Trinamool Congress' Dola Sen. The NAPM claimed in its statement, "thousands participated in the rally", with people coming in from several states, including Odisha, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Ndu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
The NAPM statement suggested Gujarat's farmers' organizations, which have "opposed" land acquisition, was not represented at the meeting, including the Jameen Adhikar Andolan Gujarat (JAAG), whose leader Sagar Rabari has lately gone close to NBA leader Medha Patkar. 

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