Consensus eludes BJP over session on food bill

Swaraj favours debate while Sinha opposes

Consensus eludes BJP over session on food bill

At a time when the UPA government appears determined to push through crucial legislation, multiple opinions have cropped up in the BJP over a special parliamentary session to pass the Food Security and the Land Acquisition bills.

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj  on Sunday tweeted that the BJP was in favour of having a thorough debate on the two bills and had no objection to special sessions of both Houses. She, however, said the monsoon session should be ideally advanced so that other issues could also be discussed.

Even key NDA ally, the Janta Dal-United, is in favour of the Food Security Bill, but believes that the Centre should shoulder the additional financial burden that the initiative entails.

BJP MP from Varanasi Murli Manohar Joshi has termed the Food Security Bill “Kisaan (farmer) Insecurity Bill.” The veteran party leader said: “This Food Security Bill should never be brought before the legislature. There are far more important issues to discuss.”

When asked about Joshi’s comments, BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said: “We want to have discussion on the bill in Parliament.”

Meanwhile, describing the bill as “an assault on the federal structure,” former finance minister Yashwant Sinha said the party should not agree to the special session at all. “Hope the BJP doesn’t agree to special session of Parliament for the Food Bill. Bringing the Food Security law via an ordinance is a bad idea,” he told a news channel.

Sinha, who is also the chairman of the parliamentary finance committee, has reservations over the proposed legislation on the grounds that the states would be burdened further. “The Food Bill is an assault on the federal system of India. It will lead to black marketing and badly affect farmers. Only traders will make merry by round tripping grain supply,” he said.

In Patna, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar confirmed that the JD(U) is in favour of the Food Security Bill “in principle.” “The legislation is being brought in the last year of the UPA II ... It will not pay any political dividend,” he said.

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