Bengaluru: Janata Dal (Secular) members helped in the passage of the controversial “Karnataka Land Reforms Bill” in the State Legislative Council where it was defeated in previous Session.
This came as a surprise for Congress as it had expected the JD(S) to continue to oppose the Bill which was against interest of farming community. However, the JD(S) members took a U-turn and voted in favour of the Bill when it was put for voting in the Council yesterday. Surprisingly, the JD(S) had extended support to the farmers’ cause over farm bills in the morning but they supported the ruling BJP in the amendment to the Karnataka Land Reforms Act (1961) that allowed non-agriculturists to buy agricultural land in Karnataka.
Revenue Minister R. Ashok tabled the Bill to which the Opposition Party leaders expressed their grave concern over deprivation of farm land to farmers as non-agriculturists would be allowed to buy agriculture land.
Opposition Leader in the Legislative Council S.R. Patil alleged that the State Government was introducing these amendments only to please its High Command. The BJP has two options. Firstly, to take pro-farmer stand by dropping its proposed amendment to the Act or be ready to be blamed in future for allowing people not connected with farming to buy agriculture land.
Chief Minister B.S.Yediyurappa informed members that the Government has put a condition to the buyers that purchase of any irrigation land has to be used for irrigation purpose. Farmers were intelligent and no farmer will sell land just because there is a law. “Our Government is pro-farmer and will not pass any law which will harm interest of farmers. We have used only two per cent of the land in the State for industries and the proposed amendment will help in setting up industries.”
This was followed by a heated debate and Congress leaders sought the division of votes thinking that the JD(S) will support to defeat the Bill. Much to their surprise, all JD(S) members, except Marithibbegowda, supported the Bill and voted in favour of the Government. Finally, the Bill was passed with 37 and 21 votes. While 37 MLCs from BJP and JD-S (10 MLCs) supported and voted in favour of the amendment, 21 MLCs from Congress voted against it.