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to identify its beneficiaries and criteria besides setting up the roll-out mechanism within a time-frame of 6 months. The Congress central leadership is set to hardsell the populist measure as a key plank of the party-led UPA government across the country ahead of this year-end assembly elections ~ in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan and Mizoram ~ as well as the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
It has already gone all out to showcase the “historic” welfare legislation as the “world&’s biggest public food security law”, seeking to package it as the Congress&’s “game-changer” issue.
The AICC officially, however, again rejected the linking of the legislation with coming elections.
“Don’t link this Ordinance with elections. We have been saying that the issue of national food security should not be looked at from the prism of politics,” Mr Maken claimed, highlighting the point that it was promised by the Congress and Mrs Gandhi in the party&’s manifesto for the 2009 general elections.
To unleash a media blitz to highlight the significance of the legislation, seven AICC spokespersons and party leaders would visit all the states in coming weeks in order to hold press conferences at state headquarters and workshops for state party units on the issue.
During today&’s meeting, several CMs and general secretaries reportedly raised concerns over the plight of the PDS, transportation of foodgrains in Northeastern states, and the loopholes in the Essential Commodities Act. The PM assured of addressing some of these concerns.
Ignoring fierce protests from the Opposition BJP and Left for clearing the legislation through the Ordinance route and thereby bypassing Parliament for some time, the Congress is bent on speeding up its roll-out, claiming that it is urgently necessary as a legal entitlement for “ensuring a bulwark to fight against hunger and malnutrition” for the sake of “the poor, vulnerable and aam aadmi (common people)”.
The Ordinance will have to be replaced by a regular legislation and put for consideration and passage before both Houses of Parliament in the coming session.
The government, however, seems to be in no urgency to convene the monsoon session of Parliament, which normally begins from the third week of July.
Convulsed by corruption scandals after scams, the UPA
government has also been reeling under allegations or perceptions of governance-deficit and policy paralysis.
The Congress leadership would hope to spruce up such a track-record by hardselling the populist food initiative.