Congress wants credit for food security bill

Though there was no formal or informal briefing of the deliberations by the Congress, those present in the meeting called by party vice-president Rahul Gandhi said “every body who took part in the deliberations demanded that the revolutionary piece of legislation should be named after Rajivji”.

Congress delegates fear that the non-Congress governments in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Orissa, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Tripura will implement the food security bill as their own programme and thus prevent the Congress from getting any credit.
According to some PCC chiefs, the message of Saturday’s exercise was that the party should be fully prepared to take credit for the bill. “We will hold press conferences, give advertisements in newspapers, organise public meetings to tell people that the food security is the Congress’ programme,” they said.
Some PCC chiefs drew the attention of the meeting to how the public distribution system does not work in northern states.
Union ministers K.V. Thomas and Jairam Ramesh briefed the meeting. Mr Gandhi termed the bill a “historic legislation” and asked partymen to take its message to grassroots and prepare the people to fight for their legal entitlement.
“We have given them a right. You prepare them to fight,” was the message of Mr Gandhi’s brief speech at the opening of the meeting, sources said.
Mr Gandhi said the Congress, after fulfilling commitments like Right to Education, Right to Information, right to employment (NREGA), right to identity (Aadhaar), has brought the right to food. “This is for the first time in the history of the country that any government is legislating to give the right to food to citizens... You take the message in blocks and villages,” Mr Gandhi told the participants.

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