File picture of PM Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi
The UPA government has decided to hold a meeting of the coordination committee tomorrow to discuss the Food Security Bill, among other pending legislation. All allies of the Congress have been requested to attend the meet.
The decision to call the meeting was taken after the Congress Core Group met at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's residence earlier today. In the over three-hour-long meeting, chaired by party chief and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi with Dr Singh by her side, the top leadership of the party deliberated in detail the options of calling a special session or taking the ordinance route.
On the food security issue, it was decided that Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath will speak to other political parties and if they agree, a special session may be convened to take up the bill, sources said. Otherwise the government may decide to bring out an ordinance on the food bill, a key commitment of the UPA.
The Food Bill is the brainchild of party chief Sonia Gandhi, who is also the head of the National Advisory Council (NAC). Mrs Gandhi had, last week, appealed to the NDA and other Opposition parties to come together and collectively help the government pass the bill.
The Food Security Bill and the Land Acquisition Bill are being seen as a game changer by the Congress as it braces for the next Lok Sabha elections, which are less than a year away, and it is keen on their early implementation.
At the core group meet today, the need to take a call on President's Rule in Jharkhand was also discussed. So was a key concern for the Congress internally - trouble within its ranks in Andhra Pradesh, where more and more of its leaders are reportedly looking to quit over the demand for a separate statehood for Telangana.