New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday termed Food Security Bill a "historic legislation" and asked party leaders to publicise its import to masses as they gear up for elections scheduled early next year.
In his opening remarks at a meeting of Pradesh Congress Committee presidents and Congress Legislative Party leaders here, Gandhi said it was for the first time in the history of the country that any government had passed a legislation on the people`s right to food.
Madhya Pradesh CLP leader Ajay Singh said Gandhi asked them to disseminate information among the masses about the Bill`s significance. Singh said it was wrong to link the Bill with elections.
Food Minister K V Thomas, sources said, told the gathering that a misconception existed among people that Public Distribution System would cease to exist after the Bill was implemented and asked them to dispel the notion.
The Bill would plug the leakages existing in the PDS, he said. Party spokesperson Sanjay Nirupam said Congress had promised the right to food legislation before 2009 elections and it was imperative that "we fulfill the promise before we go to people in next elections".
Asked why it took the party more than four years to fulfill its promise, he said "we had been working on it all the while".
"The whole process of drafting the Bill and consultations take time... Opposition was uncooperative and it forced us to pass an ordinance," he said.
The Bill will be taken up in Parliament in the coming monsoon session.