Shamli (Uttar Pradesh): As Uttar Pradesh readies for the penultimate round of its
assembly elections Tuesday, forcible acquisition of farmland and
its transfer to private builders will weigh heavily on the voter's
mind, says Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) MP Jayant Chaudhary.
"The protests in Noida and other places in western Uttar Pradesh
will have their impact. People, especially farmers, will vote
against Chief Minister Mayawati who was responsible for the land
acquisition," Chaudhary, 33, told IANS in this town, 100 km from
"Forcibly acquired farmlands and the killing of farmers will prove
to be Mayawati's Waterloo," he said.
Chaudhary, seeks to carry on the legacy of his grandfather, former
prime minister Charan Singh, and father, union minister and RLD
chief Ajit Singh. He is the Lok Sabha MP from Mathura, but is
contesting the assembly polls from Mat, which falls in his
parliamentary constituency. The sixth of the seven-phased assembly
elections will be held Tuesday.
According to Chaudhary, farmers don't want a blanket ban on
"But they are against the Mayawati government's act of acquiring
land in the name of public purpose and transferring it to private
builders who later sell properties built there at highly enhanced
prices," said the London School of Economics alumnus.
"For the past few years, I and (Congress leader) Rahul Gandhi have
been opposing and agitating against the indiscriminate action of
the Mayawati government of taking away prime farmland and gifting
it to private builders," he added.
Two farmers and a policeman were killed in violence during a
farmer agitation in Tappal in Mathura in August 2010 while two
farmers and two policemen were killed in another farmer stir in
Bhatta-Parsaul in Greater Noida in May 2011.
Seven other farmers were killed in a series of violent incidents
in 2008-09 in western Uttar Pradesh.
Chaudhary had taken up the cause of farmers in Mathura and Aligarh
while Rahul rode into Bhatta-Parsaul on a two-wheeler on May 11,
putting the land acquisition issue in Uttar Pradesh in national
RLD is contesting the assembly polls in alliance with the
Congress. RLD is fighting from 47 seats - 43 of which are in
western Uttar Pradesh - in the 403-member assembly.
"We could stop the brazen land acquisition because of our
agitation in Mathura-Aligarh districts," the RLD leader said.
"Not that farmers are blindly and blankly opposing any acquirement
of land. But it should not destroy the future of farmers and just
help a private parties," said Chaudhary.
Various models of compensation based on equity and lease could be
discussed, but the basic purpose should be public interest, not
private profits and kickbacks to a few politicians, he said.
Farmers and their land should not become an object of exploitation
by officials and profiteers, he said.
Farmland should be acquired only for an important public purpose
and at a equitable compensation, he said, "Because land is the
only asset of a farmer."
The votes will be counted on March 6.
This is the last interview done by
IANS political editor George Joseph, who passed away early Monday
following a massive heart attack.