The much touted food security bill failed to evoke enough interest among lawmakers on Monday. When food minister KV Thomas placed the proposed legislation for the consideration of the Lok Sabha, almost one-third of the Congress seats were empty.
Several key opposition leaders also chose to skip the initial debate period on the bill.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who led the party in the debate, and vice president Rahul Gandhi, however, were present throughout. Both even patiently listened to CPI's Prabodh Panda and BJP's Murali Manohar Joshi.
Congress chief whip Sandip Dikshit was seen running around to call party MPs to fill up the vacant seats. While the Congress bench filled up before Sonia's speech, key opposition leaders like Rajnath Singh (BJP), Anant Geete (Shiv Sena), Arjun Charan Sethi (BJD) were not seen for a long time.
Senior BJP leaders like Yashwant Sinha and Gopinath Munde were also not present when Joshi spoke. Many MPs from Uttar Pradesh or Odisha did not attend the debate despite the Speaker deciding to schedule the bill on Monday as many MPs were not in Delhi on Saturday.