Congress concerned over fate of food, land bills

New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) Fearing that the truce it struck with the opposition to pass the financial bills Tuesday would collapse, the Congress Monday was concerned over the fate of the key food security bill and the land takeover bill.

The opposition BJP has been stalling parliament over the contentious coal block allocations and the 2G spectrum scam issues, demanding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s resignation.

Though the BJP at an all-party meeting called by the Lok Sabha speaker agreed to help the government pass the Finance Bill 2013-14 along with the demands for grants of various other ministries, the Congress is worried whether it would be able to get passed the national food security bill and the land acquisition bill during the remainder of the budget session, which concludes May 10.

The BJP has said that Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj will clarify her party’s position on the floor of the house Tuesday.

Sensing it may not get cooperation from the BJP for the two bills which it hopes to take to the voters ahead of the 2014 general elections, Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit said: “The BJP is not concerned about public interest but is only looking at political gain. We appeal to them not to disrupt parliament.”

“There are two important bills, the food security bill and the land acquisition bill, which are of public interest. We want to pass the bills,” he said.

Though Congress sources said the two bills could be passed in the din if the BJP did not cooperate, officially the Congress said it would prefer to go by the tradition of passing landmark legislations with debate.

“The tradition is to pass the important bills with debate,” said Dikshit.

He said the government may come out with a food security scheme if the bill could not be passed.

The Congress feels the urgency to pass the food bill now as it would take some time to roll it out.

Congress sources are banking on the fact that it may not be easy for the BJP — or at least most of the opposition parties, including the Left — to oppose a pro-people legislation like the food security bill, which intends to benefit around 67 percent of India’s 1.2 billion people.

The Congress’ hopes for the land takeover bill stem from the support that the BJP promised to give during an all-party meet over the issue recently.

The Congress thinks it should be able to persuade the Left parties, who still have some reservations on the land acquisition bill.

The Congress also attacked the BJP for disrupting parliament, saying that party was concerned over its losing ground in the Karnataka assembly polls.

“The BJP is trying to reduce its losses in Karnataka by disrupting parliament,” Dikshit said.

“There is a Congress wave in the state,” he claimed.

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