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It's not food but vote security bill: Oppn

New Delhi, August 26, 2013, DHNS: 1:54 IST
Murli Manohar Joshi
The Opposition on Monday picked holes in the National Food Security Bill and doubted if it would fulfil its promise of giving adequate and nutritious food to 67 per cent population of the country, alleging that the UPA brought it just to reap political dividends ahead of 2014 polls.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dubbed the legislation a “vote security bill” and said many of the provisions in the bill were vague and inadequate. “What is adequate food? Is it going to be based on purchasing power, calorific value or nutrition? You mention eligible households, why this ‘tamasha’? What if it is only single person? You (the government) should clarify whether one person will be classified as household,” senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said during a debate on the legislation in the Lok Sabha.

He alleged that the ruling Congress was “misleading” the country by claiming that food security will be provided “to everyone” under the proposed legislation while no provision was made in the bill to make it universal.

“This is a ‘vote security bill’ not Food Security Bill. You are playing with the emotions of people. First determine what your priorities are and also consider the condition of our country,” he charged.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Kalyan Banerjee objected to some provisions of the bill saying they are against the federal structure of the country.

He said his party was “in principal” in favour of providing food to everyone but the proposed legislation would only get support from TMC if the government deletes Section 38, which makes state governments equally responsible for implementing the scheme.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader A Sampath demanded that sugar, pulses and edible oil be included in the bill, along with rice, wheat and coarse cereals. “Since elections are knocking on the door, the minister is in a hurry to pass the bill,” he said.

Expressing reservations on the bill, AIADMK leader M Thambidurai said his party could not support the bill in the present form as it would impose an additional burden of Rs 3,000 crore on Tamil Nadu.
BSP leader Dara Singh Chauhan, outside supporter of the UPA, supported the bill, saying it would provide food security to the poor. He also appreciated Congress president Sonia gandhi for making her speech in Hindi.

Janata Dal-United president Sharad Yadav, whose party recently pulled out of National Democratic Alliance, snapping its 16-year-old tie with the BJP, supported the bill but urged the government to consider making arrangements to reduce the financial burden on states to be incurred in its implementation.

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