Continued protests by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) members in the Lok Sabha have thwarted the Congress’ bid to get the much-touted food security bill passed in parliament before the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on August 20.
The delay has caused unease in the Congress with a section arguing that the decision on Telangana could have been taken after the ongoing monsoon session of parliament for which the government has a heavy legislative agenda in store.
“What was the hurry to announce the decision before the monsoon session? There are many important bills pending in both social and economic sectors,” said a young party MP who did not want to be named.
“Our MPs from Telangana would have no problem in waiting till the end of the session since the leadership had shown its willingness to divide Andhra Pradesh,” he added.
For Congress managers, the monsoon session is the last opportunity to push through long-pending key bills. As the winter session coincides with assembly polls in four crucial states followed by general elections, the opposition is unlikely to allow any major legislative business in parliament.
The law to guarantee food security for poor along with the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme is billed as a “game changer” for 2014 polls and the Congress hopes to reap rich electoral dividends from them as had been the case with the loan waiver and MNREGA schemes that helped the UPA to retain power in 2009.
Many Congress-ruled states, including Delhi and Haryana, had promised to roll out the food security scheme on August 20.
The most practical option to get the food bill passed in the Lok Sabha now is to name the protesting members for disobeying the chair and keep them out for a day in view of reservation among the opposition camp over use of force to evict them from the House.