BJP won't oppose food security bill: Rajnath

Nagpur, July 6 (IANS) Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh Saturday said that his party would not oppose the the National Food Security Bill in parliament but would seek amendments to it.

Speaking to media persons after meeting Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Mohan Bhagwat at the RSS headquarters here, he termed the ordinance promulgated by the government as "a cruel joke".

"What was the need to hurry with an ordinance when the parliament's monsoon session is due soon? Taking the ordinance route is nothing but a cruel joke on democracy," he said.

The BJP chief did not indicate what kind of amendments his party was planning to bring when the bill is introduced in parliament but assured that the BJP would not stall proceedings over the issue. He also questioned the delay by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

"Why did the UPA government take so long in passing the bill, and that also through the ordinance route," he asked, adding that the UPA had promised to bring the bill within 100 days of coming to power after the 2004 elections.

The bill envisages providing five kg foodgrain at rates ranging between Re.1-Rs.3 per kg, to cover nearly 67 percent of India's population.

Aimed at benefiting over 800 million people the government would spend Rs.125,000 crore on it, making it the world's biggest food security programme.

Rajnath Singh's visit to Nagpur came a day after senior BJP leader L.K. Advani and a few days after Murli Manohar Joshi visited the RSS headquarters and held dicussions with the RSS top brass.

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