With Congress projecting the food security bill as a game changer,Sonia Gandhi has called a meeting of its Chief Ministers and PCC chiefs on July 13 to discuss the issue. The meeting called days after the government rushed through an ordinance on the key measure is an indication that the party is keen to pull out all the stops in propagating the food security scheme that will provide right to cheap food grains to 82 crore people. This will be the first major gathering of Congress leaders after the party’s Chintan Shivir in Jaipur in January this year.
Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme and the Food Security Act are being considered as major moves by the Congress ahead of the 2014 general elections as was the farmers’ loan waiver scheme and MNREGA announced in UPA-I. The loan waiver and MNREGA schemes were credited among other issues for the return of UPA to power in 2009. Food Minister K V Thomas yesterday gave a detailed briefing over the ambitious food security measure to AICC General Secretary Ajay Maken and party spokespersons. Maken is the chief of the AICC communication department.
Congress-ruled Delhi,where Assembly polls are due later this year,is all set to become the first state in the country to roll out the food security scheme. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had yesterday said that the programme will be launched on August 20,the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Party leaders have already hailed the food security measure as a game changer in the Lok Sabha battle. Reports had it that several states including Congress -ruled Karnataka,BJP-led Chhattigarh,SP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and JD(U)-run Bihar could see early roll out of the programme. The bill has been the pet project of Congress President Sonia Gandhi who is also UPA Chairperson.