Amid uproar over several scams, the government on Monday sprang a surprise in the Lok Sabha by taking up the National Food Security Bill for consideration, despite protests in the House.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi was seen actively leading her party contingent by signalling to the participant MPs to keep their interventions short and crisp. She was also seen instructing Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, who was having a word with protesting MPs and Opposition leaders.
Soon, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj got up and said the proceedings in the House were unfair. She also gestured to more party MPs to rush to the Well.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was seen telling Nath that the government should not go ahead with the bill’s passage amid pandemonium.
It was only after a group of BJP MPs started banging the Chair’s side-table and one of the protesting MPs, Bijoya Chakravarty, threatened to snatch away the Chair’s microphone, that Girija Vyas was forced to adjourn the House for the day. “Mrs Gandhi wanted the bill to be passed today itself. Now she wants the bill to be passed tomorrow. She has been taking active interest in the bill and even called me for a special meeting on the subject last Saturday,” Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K V Thomas later told Express.
Asked why the bill could not be passed on Monday itself, Thomas said: “It was due to the opposition from the BJP and others”.
However, if the Congress was serious in getting the bill passed on Monday, it did not show that enthusiasm in terms of numbers in the Treasury benches.
If half of the Congress seats were empty, Sushilkumar Shinde and Rahul Gandhi were also not present during the discussion. The BJP later hit out at the Congress saying it had brought the bill for discussion only “because it wanted to divert attention from the corruption cases involving its functionaries”.
“The Congress president gets things done in the House according to her own wishlist. We, however, strongly denounce the Congress bid to murder democracy in the House. It failed to see that even parties extending outside support to it were in the Well,” Sushma said.