Amid the ongoing stand-off in Parliament, owing to myriad cases of probity involving Congress functionaries, the Congress-led UPA government on Monday sprang a surprise and moved the National Food Security Bill, 2011 in Lok Sabha for consideration and passing.
The amended food bill was introduced by Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Prof K V Thomas, last week. On Monday, the unprecedented aggression from the ruling party was matched with an equally belligerent opposition, especially the BJP. The mainline opposition party said it would agree for a discussion on the bill ‘only after the Railway and Law Ministers quit’.
It was, then, an unusual sight when, after the usual adjournments that have marked this ongoing Budget session, Thomas presented the amended food bill for consideration and passing at 3 pm in the lower house, after the house had unanimously agreed to extend the term of JPC probing the 2G scam.
Various opposition parties at this point were already in the Well with their respective demands — the BJP demanded the resignations of Railway and Law Ministers; the Shiromani Akali Dal wanted a SIT probe monitored by the Supreme Court into the 1984 anti-Sikh riots; the Left MPs wanted the Railway Minister to resign; and the Samajwadi Party wanted the implementation of the Sachar Committee report.
Girija Vyas, who was in the Chair, asked the protesting MPs to go back to their respective seats, but in vain. Much to the chagrin of the opposition, the discussion on the bill, meanwhile, continued amid din with the Congress’ Sanjay Nirupam and Bhakta Charan Das rooting for the bill, and the NCP’s Ganesh Naik coming out in support. TMC’s Dinesh Trivedi moved thirty amendments to the bill.