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Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj wondered if Congress wanted an early election. Photo: PTI

The government's decision to bring an ordinance to implement the Food Security Bill drew flak from major Opposition parties even as Congress accused them of forcing the UPA into taking such a step after their failure in helping passage of the bill in the last session of Parliament.

As Congress touted the step as "historic", BJP and Left were both critical of the government for "bypassing" Parliament and found support from Samajwadi Party which questioned the government's "hurry", saying it would turn "bread-givers (farmers) into beggars". Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj wondered if Congress wanted an early election.

"Monsoon Session is due in July itself and the government has recommended ordinance for National Food Security Bill. This is a deliberate attempt to denigrate Parliament. Why this hurry? Are they (Congress) going for early elections?" she tweeted. CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat also attacked the government, saying the bill in its present form has serious flaws and it needed to be revised.

"We have a lot of criticism about the bill (in its present form). We will move amendments to the legislation," he said. BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said UPA government was more interested in scoring some brownie points at the fag end of its tenure. "They are not interested in having a debate because many facts or many gaps in this bill will be highlighted by all political parties and their own lack of clarity, their own lack of preparedness in presenting a comprehensive well-drafted bill will come out," she said. 

Samajwadi Party, which supports UPA from outside, said "bringing an ordinance instead of debating the bill in Parliament was against the democratic spirit of the country". Senior party leader and its national spokesperson Ramgopal Yadav said the government could have waited for Monsoon Session and pass it after proper debate. His party colleague Naresh Agrawal said the bill would "turn bread-givers as beggars". 

Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken said the Opposition's failure to help passage of the Food Security Bill forced the government to go in for an ordinance to give the country's two-third population the right to foodgrain at subsided rates. Maken said the government was ready to have discussions in Parliament on the bill and the Congress was for creating a consensus on the ambitious measure. 

The Congress spokesperson insisted that the Bill could see the "light of the day" due to concerted efforts of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. He said the government decision to come out with an ordinance was to provide the country's two-third population the right to five kgs of foodgrain every month at highly subsidised rates of Rs 1-3 per kg. Reacting to the BJP's allegation, he said it was obvious that the  government of the day would claim credit for the bill.

Sitharaman said the intention of Congress was only for election purposes and for garnering votes and not helping the poor. The BJP leader said the party had made it clear that the Food Security Bill was a key bill as it had important implications on the society, on the budget and on the way the Indian poor would be given food security and thus needed to be discussed.

BJP, she said, had suggested that the Monsoon Session of Parliament be advanced and no special session was required for the passage of the bill. Sitharaman said, "Notwithstanding the fact that BJP had agreed that it should be discussed in Parliament, today we find that the Congress party is trying to get a brownie point which may help them to face the Indian voter." SP leader Agrawal said the foreign companies coming into India through FDI were being facilitated to take away the lands of the farmers and get it mortgaged with them. 

Tag : #Ajay Maken #Food Bill #Food Security Bill #Prakash Karat #Sonia Gandhi #Sushma Swaraj

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