The Opposition seems to be successful in portraying government as anti-poor. The Congress is in aggressive mode. It appears that the Land Acquisition Bill lacks something?

We should understand the entire history of Land Acquisition Bill. After 120 years, this bill was taken into consideration. Did the previous government spend even 120 hours on the archaic law? They did not. It's not that only Congress is guilty. We (BJP) are also guilty as we extended support to them over it. The election was looming large and the session was to end. Therefore, decision was taken in haste. Later, every state felt there is a loophole in it. Almost every Chief Minister narrated the similar story that the Land Acquisition Bill needs to be amended otherwise we won't be in a position to work. We have several letters in this regard.

In this political situation, it does not seem that your government has flanked in convincing the farmers over Land Acquisition Bill?

Your statement is totally true. The truth has faced many hurdles due to some political interests. Our opponent succeeded in spreading rumour that land will be acquired for corporate sector. The fact is that we made no amendment to the provisions of 2013 Land Bill in the matter of providing land to the corporate. As per our amendments, neither a piece of land has been given to the corporate sector nor the government has such plan to do so. Neither BJP nor government wanted amendments to Land Acquisition Bill, rather almost every state government requested to do so.

The Land Acquisition Bill needs to be simplified so that farmers can be benefited. Had we not brought changes in the Land Bill, it would have been impossible to provide farmers irrigation facilities. Farmers are devoid of basic facilities in the villages. The loopholes in the law needed to be plugged. We have made a holy effort for farmers' interest.

Several BJP leaders and Union Ministers were hesitating over this controversial issue. This apart, the government took political risk on the Land Acquisition Bill?

As I said that neither the BJP nor the government has an agenda of amending the Land Acquisition Bill. All the Chief Ministers wanted amendment to the Land Acquisition Bill. Meanwhile, a senior Congress leader and Assam Governor JB Patnaik told me to scrap the Land Acquisition Bill brought by the Congress due to lack of maturity. Patnaik said he had run the government in Odisha for years. According to his long experience, the Land Bill won't function.

To be continued...