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Sonia asks CMs to roll out food scheme in "letter and spirit"

Sonia asks CMs to roll out food scheme in letter and spirit

New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi Saturday asked the states ruled by the party to implement in "letter and spirit" the food security scheme which it sees as a "game changer" in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

She held deliberations with Congress Chief Ministers on how to implement the food scheme seeking to provide cheap foodgrains to 82 crore people, for which an ordinance was promulgated last week.

Party sources said the CMs were told at the meeting to rollout the scheme in "letter and spirit".

The meeting was held at a time when the party is preparing for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and is keen to reach out to the people with its populist measure.

Delhi, where assembly polls are due by year-end, will be the first state to roll out the scheme on August 20, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Besides Congress CMs, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, Food Minister K V Thomas, AICC general secretaries and Core Group memebers were present during the deliberations.

The aim of the meeting was to ensure that the scheme is implemented in the best possible manner with Congress-ruled states becoming role models in implementation of the food security measure.

Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme and the Food Security Act are being considered as major moves by 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 things for return of UPA to power in 2009.

Several states, including Congress-ruled Karnataka and Uttarakhand, BJP-governed Chhattigarh, SP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and JD(U)-run Bihar, could see early roll out of the programme.

Partymen wanted early roll out the scheme so that the scheme is well in place by the time Lok Sabha elections take place.

The bill has been the pet project of Sonia Gandhi.

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