M A I N   N E W S

Cong explores ways to pass stalled food and land Bills
KV Prasad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 1
The Congress top leadership today decided to explore ways to push the stalled Food Security Bill and Land Acquisition Bill by consulting its allies and other political parties to discuss the possibility of a special session of Parliament to enact these welfare measures.

At a meeting of the Congress core committee here that was attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, it was decided to first attempt a consensus on these Bills by first holding a UPA coordination committee meeting by Monday followed by an all-party meet during the week.

The move is a calibrated approach to get all parties on board failing which the ordinance route could be explored as the Congress leadership is keen on implementing these measures.

There is a feeling among political parties that in the run-up to the general elections, the Food Security Bill could alter the political landscape in favour of the Congress. However, at the UPA anniversary dinner last month, Sonia Gandhi stressed these Bills were “not a question of the government versus the Opposition” but affect the lives and livelihoods of millions.

Over the past few days, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the oldest ally now in the ruling coalition, had openly suggested a meeting of the coordination committee largely to discuss the strategy for the 2014 General Election.

The Food Security Bill, which aims to provide a specified quantity of foodgrains to two-thirds of the country's 1.2 billion people at highly subsidised rates, is a Sonia Gandhi favourite. During the recent Budget Session of Parliament, she made a determined effort to get Lok Sabha to consider it even when it was not in order.

While the Opposition reiterated its commitment to the welfare measure, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Yadav protested against the manner in which the Bill was being sought to passed in a tumultuous House.

Party sources said the Congress core group also discussed the developments in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde briefed the meeting on the steps being taken in Chhattisgarh where a Maoist attack last week wiped out top state Congress leaders.

Step by step

  • The Congress core committee has decided to first attempt a consensus on the Bills at a UPA coordination committee meeting on Monday
  • Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath would hold consultations with all political parties on holding a special session to pass the Bills
  • This will be followed by an all-party meet during the week.





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