NEW DELHI — Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had planned to march with leaders of at least ten parties from Parliament House to Rashtrapati Bhavan today to submit a memorandum against the new land bill to President Pranab Mukherjee.
Instead, they were in for a long wait because the Delhi Police refused permission for the march. TV reports later said the union home ministry had allowed it to go ahead, and visuals showed swarms of security personnel gathered around the parliament area as they geared up for the march.
Congress is playing a key role in the protest including the finalization of the draft of the memorandum, which will be submitted to the President Tuesday evening. In the absence of Rahul Gandhi, his mother Sonia has been leading Congress protests since last week and will be leading the march.
Former Prime Minister and JDS chief H D Devegowda, CPI-M's Sitaram Yechury, CPI's D Raja, Trinamool Congress leader Dinesh Trivedi, SP's Ramgopal Yadav, DMK's Kanimozhi, INLD's Dushyant Chautala and RJD's Prem Chand Gupta are expected to participate in the march.
Parties have decided that they will not display flags or symbols during the march, said Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien. The opposition parties have stuck together since the previous session of parliament to oppose issues of common concern.
There are just four days left in the current session of parliament. It can be extended by the government if it feels the bill can be passed, but that appears unlikely given its shortage of votes in the Rajya Sabha. Instead, it might opt for extending the ordinance for a further six months.
(With inputs from agencies)