After a nearly nine-hour marathon debate and 310 amendments, the Congress-led UPA government managed to get the Food Security Bill passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday night. The bill now requires the Rajya Sabha’s approval to become law. While the government’s six amendments were approved, the opposition’s 304 were negated.
Senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said it would have been a stronger bill, but for the rejection of all her amendments.Computing glitches in the automatic counting machines created confusion and also saw the rejection of an official amendment for cash transfer if the government fails to provide foodgrains. In the middle of the motion to move amendments, the House saw an unprecedented re-voting after several members claimed their votes were wrongly recorded.
Initiating the debate on behalf of the BJP, Murli Manohar Joshi picked holes in the Bill and dubbed it as a “vote security bill,” but said his party was in favour of the law that will provide subsidised foodgrains to two-third of the population.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav insisted on keeping the Bill in abeyance till the chief ministers are consulted, but members of his party withdrew the amendments when put to vote.