Need to discuss food bill: NCP

New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Thursday welcomed the UPA government's decision to take up the controversial National Food Security Bill in a special session of parliament, saying that it needs to be discussed throughly.

Nawab Malik, an NCP legislator from Maharashtra, said the party supports the bill but has certain reservations.

"We want to discuss it on the floor of the house. It is a very important bill and some of the allies also want to discuss the issue," he told a TV channel. NCP is a key ally of the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

Earlier, NCP leader D.P. Tripathi said the party supported the ordinance route for the bill.

With no discussion possible on the bill during parliament's budget session that concluded May 8, the government had thought of the ordinance route to effect to the measure, a pet legislation of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi that will provide subsidised foodgrain to 67 percent of India's population.

The union cabinet was to discuss the matter Thursday. But, due to pressure from its own allies and the opposition - as also divisions within the cabinet - the government decided to take it up in a special session of the parliament.

NCP leader and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had expressed reservations over the ordinance and favoured a detailed discussion in parliament on the bill.

Malik said that the bill "should be discussed on the floor of the house properly and then it can be passed."

"The government has changed its mind and this is good for the democracy," he added.

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