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Congress moves to evolve consensus on food bill, UPA meet on Monday

Last Updated: Saturday, June 1, 2013 - 18:13

New Delhi: Keen to push through the food security bill, Congress has initiated fresh moves to forge a consensus with allies and the Opposition over the measure.

A meeting of the Congress top brass today decided to hold a meeting of UPA coordination committee on Monday, while an all-party meet is likely on June 7 for evolving a consensus on the key bill, which is being touted as a revolutionary measure by the ruling party ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls.

Sources in both the party and the government said that a special session may happen if other parties agree to it.

At a meeting of the Congress Core Group chaired by party President Sonia Gandhi, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by her side, that lasted for more than three hours, it was decided that the UPA will finalise its strategy on Monday on the ambitious food security bill.

If all parties agree, a special session can be called, otherwise the government may take the route of ordinance to implement the food security measure.

The UPA coordination meeting will provide an opportunity to the Congress top brass to understand the mind of the allies on the Food Security bill and the Land Acquisition Bill which are being seen as a gamechanger by the Congress as it braces for the next Lok Sabha elections.

In the Core Group meeting today, it was decided that Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath will speak to other political parties and if they agree, a special session may be convened to take up the bill, sources said. Otherwise the government may decide to bring out an ordinance on the food bill, a key commitment of the UPA.

The meeting took place a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accused the Opposition of playing "obstructionist" role in Parliament and made a fresh appeal to the political parties to help the government clear important legislation.

Food security bill, a pet project of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, aims to give legal right over an uniform quantity of 5 kg foodgrains at a fixed price of Rs 1-3 per kg via ration shops to 67 per cent of the population.

The bill could not be passed in the Budget session that came to an end last month due to disruptions.


First Published: Saturday, June 1, 2013 - 16:01
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