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Cong reaches out to Oppn for passage of Food Bill

 

NEW DELHI: As the government-opposition stand-off persisted in Parliament, Congress on Tuesday initiated fresh moves to break the deadlock to get the ambitious Food Security Bill passed in the Budget session which is concluding on May 10.
The efforts for the rapproachment were initiated by the Congress president, Ms Sonia Gandhi Tuesday morning by reaching out to the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, Ms Sushma Swaraj, ostensibly to win Bharatiya Janata Party’s support for passage of crucial Bills.
The Congress Core Group held a meeting where Ms Gandhi and the Prime Minister took stock of the situation as regards the Bill at a time when only three days are left for the session to conclude. The meeting was held amidst speculation that both the Houses may be adjourned sine die before Friday. The Congress Core Group is also expected to meet on Wednesday to decide the future course of action on the measure.
The leader of the Lok Sabha, Mr Sushilkumar Shinde told BJP leader, Mr Ananth Kumar that since the Food Security Bill is an important measure concerning the poor, all political parties should participate in the discussion on it and the issue of its passage should be decided thereafter. 
Top BJP sources said the party is ready to attend any all-party meeting convened by the Prime Minister or the leader of the Lok Sabha. The Left parties have already pledged support to the Bill, with some amendments, pushing the BJP in a spot. 
Ms Swaraj had earlier announced that BJP will not attend any meeting called by the Lok Sabha Speaker, Ms Meira Kumar or Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr Kamal Nath after the Treasury Benches disrupted her speech on Friday.
Congress and BJP continued to spar during the day on the issue of passage of the Bill. Congress spokesperson, Mr Sandip Dikshit accused the BJP of disrupting Parliament as a political ploy to block the Food Security and Land Acquisition Bills. “If you are responsible opposition, then help in the passage of the two Bills and keep your political fight separate from it. The issue of ministers’ resignation is not at all linked with the welfare of people. These two are separate issues,” he said.
The BJP, on its part, maintained that it will not allow the passage of any Bill in the Parliament till Railway Minister, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal and Law Minister, Mr Ashwani Kumar resign. 
“I condemn the opposition attempts to block the passage of the Bill. For them political interests are more important than public welfare. It is unfortunate that the key Bills are being obstructed in Parliament and there is logjam in Parliament,” Mr Dikshit said. He also rued that even the Left is “inadvertently” siding with the BJP in blocking the passage of the Bills even though there was a “general consensus” earlier on the passage of these Bills.
“Government is now making an effort to bring the Food Security Bill. Why was it silent for the last nine and a half years on giving it to the people? Now when it is time for them to bid goodbye they are bringing this Bill,” BJP spokesperson, Mr Prakash Javadekar told reporters. The CPI(M) leader, Mr Sitaram Yechury has demanded that the Food Bill should not be passed without a thorough debate on the issue in Parliament.
 

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