UPA’s Food Bill gets Nitish Kumar’s green signal
Janata Dal (United) support will be very crucial to the government as the party has 20 members in the Lok Sabha. The UPA, after the exit of Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK), has 232 seats in the Lower House and with the outside support from Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, the number reaches 271. Now, with JD (U)’s 20 members supporting the bill, the government expects a smooth passage. The Monsoon session is expected to begin from 5 August.
Kumar, however, said that implementing the scheme after a discussion in Parliament would have been a better option. ‘It would have been better if the ordinance had come after proper discussion in Parliament. But now there is no such option and an ordinance has come and the state government will take steps for implementation of food laws,’ said the Bihar chief minister.
JD (U)’s support came as relief for the government which has already managed to iron out the differences with the Samajwadi Party (SP), a vocal critic of the bill. SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, had met the prime minister last week on the issue and leaders from the party indicated that Samajwadi Party will support the government if the amendments proposed by them are included in the bill.
JD (U)’s support comes at a time when opposition has been critical of the government for bringing an ordinance on Food Security Bill, terming it undemocratic. JD (U)’s former ally, the BJP’s poll campaign committee head Narendra Modi, on Sunday, had attacked the government on the Food Security Bill, saying that the centre was under the impression that merely bringing in the Bill would lead to food reaching those in need of it.
The Food Security Bill is aimed at giving legal rights to 67 per cent of the population for a uniform quantity of 5 kg food grains at a fixed price of Rs 1-3 per kg through ration shops.