Contending that the Food Security Bill was being brought with an eye on elections, UPA's outside supporter Samajwadi Party (SP) on Monday demanded that the measure be kept in abeyance till Chief Ministers are consulted as it would put additional burden on states.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav raised a number of questions over the bill in Lok Sabha and said it would badly hurt farmers as there was no guarantee in the provisions that all the produce would be bought by the government.
"It is clearly being brought in for elections. Why didn't you bring this bill earlier when poor people were dying because of hunger? Every election, you bring up a measure. There is nothing for the poor," he said, participating in the debate on the bill, which was tabled Monday.
He questioned whether the government had made any assessment about the number of poor in the country. "There is no mention in the bill You don't have any figure. You are only going by assumptions," Yadav said, adding the bill could be brought only after the Below Poverty Line (BPL) census was completed.
Yadav said he would support the bill, which provides for highly subsidised foodgrains to two-third of the country's population, if certain amendments are made. "This bill is neither for the poor, nor for the farmers.", he said, emphasising that the measure would put additional financial burden on states, Yadav said the Centre should consult Chief Ministers and till then, keep it in abeyance.
The SP chief, whose party is in power in Uttar Pradesh and son Akhilesh is the Chief Minister, accused the Centre of ignoring the states and violating their rights.
"How much will be the additional burden? Who will bear the additional burden? Will the Centre bear it? There is no mention in the bill," he said, adding the states were already facing financial problems.