New Delhi, Aug. 13: The government appears determined to push the food security bill through the Lok Sabha tomorrow, with Sonia Gandhi leading the effort with a speech underlining the Congress’s commitment to the welfare measure.
The Lok Sabha was scheduled to discuss and take up the bill for passage today but was prevented by repeated adjournments, forced by four Telugu Desam Party members who shouted anti-Telangana slogans in the well of the House.
The Congress has issued a whip to its Lok Sabha members to be present in the House tomorrow.
A PTI report said Narendra Modi had opposed the bill in its current form. In a letter to the Prime Minister, he has purportedly said the proposed legislation fails to provide enough calories and nutrition and will push the country towards “malnutrition”.
Sources said the government was toying with the idea of having the Desam members who disrupted the House debarred for a day. For now, parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath is learnt to have opened a channel of communication with Desam chief Chandrababu Naidu to get his MPs to suspend their protest for a day tomorrow to allow the bill’s passage.
The Opposition used the Desam protest to allege poor House management by the government. Each time food and civil supplies minister K.V. Thomas rose to speak on the bill today, there was an adjournment.
Sonia is keen to get the bill passed this week and, despite being a rare speaker in the House, has decided to deliver a speech. She was learnt to have come prepared today but could not make the speech as the House hardly functioned.
The Congress hopes the food security scheme will be a vote-catcher in next year’s Lok Sabha elections.
An all-party meeting was convened today to get the House to work and pass the food security bill. At the meeting, the Opposition blamed the Centre for the House disruptions saying it was the government’s responsibility to calm the Desam members down.
“The government announced a Telangana state in a hurry; it should have foreseen trouble,” a BJP leader said.