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Jun 13, 2013 at 01:20pm IST

Not sure of Samajwadi Party support, govt defers Food Bill to get opposition parties on board

New Delhi: The decision on Food Security ordinance was deferred on Thursday by the Union Cabinet as the government said it wanted to make one more effort to get the Opposition on board. But sources say the decision to defer the ordinance was taken because Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the Samajwadi Party must be brought on board over the issue.

Both UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh are reportedly worried that the Samajwadi Party might use the issue to withdraw the support to the UPA, which may lead to early Lok Sabha polls.

Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram, however, said, "We will make one more effort to ask the opposition parties on whether they will allow the bill to be passed. If they agree, a special session of Parliament can be called to pass the bill." "We would like the Food Bill to be passed as early as possible," he added.

But the Samajwadi Party ruled out the possibility of withdrawing support to the UPA. Speaking to CNN-IBN, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal said: "We welcome this decision. It seems they have listened to us and taken our opposition seriously."

"It is too early to decide on what we will do in Parliament, let it first reach that stage and then we will decide whether to vote in favour or against the bill. This is not a reason enough to pull out from the government. We don't want to do anything like that," he added.

Food Minister KV Thomas also hinted at the possibilty of a special Parliament session being called. "We heard from all political parties that they want a special session. A special session can be called soon," said Food Minister KV Thomas.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party said it wanted the Food Bill to be passed in the Monsoon Session but with certain amendments. "The BJP wants the bill to pass with certain amendments in the Monsoon Session," said party president Rajnath Singh.

UPA's key ally NCP chief Sharad Pawar, few Congress leaders and most of the opposition parties have opposed the Food Security ordinance.

The government's decision was also welcomed by the Janata Dal (United). "The government's decision is right, and JD(U) welcomes it. In fact, we feel they should call the Monsoon Session early. Not only the Food Bill but the Land Acquisition Bill must be passed as well," said JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav.

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