Will back food bill if Centre protects farmers’ interests: Mulayam

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MULAYAMNew Delhi August 5;Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Monday said that his party was ready to support the Food Security Bill if the government promises to protect the interests of farmers and ensures that they get profit over their produce.

His remarks are significant as they come against the backdrop of reports that the issue of suspended IAS officer Durga Sakthi Nagpal could cast a shadow over Congress’ bid to secure SP’s support on the food measure.

“If they promise that the farmers’ interests will not be ignored and they will get profit over their produce, then we can support the bill,” Mr. Yadav told PTI here.

To a question on whether SP’s stand on the food legislation has toughened after Congress raised the issue of suspension of 28-year-old Ms. Nagpal, Mr. Yadav said the two issues were not related and “our stand on food security bill is known for a long time.”

“We cannot allow the interests of the farmers to be ignored,” he said.

The SP supremo, however, indicated that action against Ms. Nagpal, a 2010 batch IAS officer, was taken to “prevent” communal disturbance which otherwise could have erupted after the demolition of the wall of a mosque.

A senior SP leader, on the condition of anonymity, asked as to what was the “provocation” for the officer to demolish the wall without a complaint.

There is also a view in the party that Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, who on Saturday wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure that the officer is not treated unfairly, got herself “unnecessarily dragged” into the controversy and it was possible that she was “not apprised of the full facts.”

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