Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Saturday supported Centre’s food security scheme but disapproved of its step to bring an ordinance, saying the measure should have been discussed in Parliament and passed with consensus.

”...Better late than never.... Our party supports it in principle,” she said in Lucknow.

However, she said “the ordinance has been brought in a hurry. It would have been better had it been discussed in Parliament. Good suggestions would have emerged and there would have been consensus over it.”

Ms. Mayawati also slammed the remarks by two Congress leaders that one could have meals for Rs. 5 and Rs. 12 as a rude joke on the poor and said that these leaders would not have made such statements had they seen poverty.

The leaders who are saying this are the ones who have never seen poverty in their lives, she said.

“Had they seen poverty, they would never have had said this. In the present scenario when inflation has made things very difficult for the poor, it is a rude joke on them and we condemn it,” Ms. Mayawati said.

The meal remarks made by Congress spokesperson Raj Babbar and another party leader Rasheed Masood were dubbed as “absurd”, “foolish” and “illogical” by BJP and others putting the Congress on the defensive. Mr. Babbar later expressed regret over his statement.

Referring to a Supreme Court observation two years ago that there was no shortage of foodgrains and it is the responsibility of the Central government to ensure that poor get proper food, Ms. Mayawati said that though late, the Centre has acted on it now.

“It is unfortunate that all this while the Centre kept mum and did not do anything on it but now they have taken a step in this direction and it is like better late than never... our party support it in principle”, the former UP Chief Minister said.