Government and the BJP were on Tuesday engaged in a war of words over the Food Security Bill pending for consideration in Lok Sabha since last week.

While government accused BJP of creating obstacles in the passage of a bill “which seeks to end hunger,” the opposition party said it would prefer to end Congress’ “hunger for ill-gotten money” before passing the ambitious legislation.

“The UPA believes that hunger should be removed and food security be ensured. It is extremely sad and most unfortunate that certain sections of the Opposition believe that it is not hunger that should be removed, but it is the hungry who should be removed,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari told reporters outside Parliament House.

He said a bill which seeks to provide 67 per cent of the people with food security is being “sacrificed on the altar of political opportunism.”

Asked whether government could promulgate an ordinance on the food bill if it is not passed in the Budget session, Mr. Tewari said when the session is in progress, he would not like to refer to an ordinance.

“We want the bill to be passed after a discussion. While some parties have constructive views on it, the party which calls itself major opposition party is politicising the issue,” he said.

Hitting back at Mr. Tewari, BJP General Secretary Rajiv Pratap Rudy said while his party is willing to get important legislations passed, it would first like to end Congress “hunger for ill-gotten money” before passing the food bill.

“Yes, we want to end the hunger of the people. But before that we want to end their (Congress’) hunger for ill-gotten money,” Mr. Rudy said in an apparent attack on Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal — involved in a controversy over arrest of his nephew while allegedly accepting a bribe for a plum posting in the Railway Board.

More In: National | News