Way ahead for Food Bill likely to be decided on Wednesday
A view in the Congress is that there is no need to handle the Food Security Bill issue like the Indo-US nuclear deal.
New Delhi: A decision on the way ahead for the ambitious Food Security Bill is expected to be taken on Wednesday with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi holding deliberations on the matter. A meeting of the Congress core group is scheduled to take place on Wednesday in which Food Minister KV Thomas will also be present.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, who along with Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had been asked to hold talks with Opposition parties to evolve a consensus on the matter, is also expected to participate. The meeting will decide whether the government should go for an Ordinance or for a special session of Parliament for passage of the Bill, which is seen as a game-changer by Congress for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Talk in the Congress circles is that Gandhi, as also party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, is in favour of having discussions in Parliament on the Bill that seeks to give legal rights over subsidised foodgrains to 67 per cent of country's population. Last week, the government had put on hold its plans to bring an Ordinance on Food Security in the face of opposition within and outside and decided to make another attempt to evolve a consensus to get it through in a special session of Parliament.
Making one more attempt to forge consensus with Opposition parties, Shinde and Kamal Nath had held talks with some leaders, including Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav. A view in the Congress is that there is no need to handle the Food Security Bill issue like the Indo-US nuclear deal and government should reach out to the Opposition to get its support.