The fresh move to destroy more than 4.5 lakh ration carry bags carrying a picture of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee by the Virbhadra Singh-led new Congress Government in the State has invited a sharp criticism from the Bhartiya Janata Party here.

The previous BJP Government had provided free ration bags made up of a strong yarn, to all households of the State. The cloth bag was to be used and reused by the public since the usual polythene, creating environmental hazards, is banned in the State. These bags were being distributed to all ration card holders all over the State but the exercise was checked by the Election Commission before the recently held Assembly elections.

The Congress Government after coming to power has now decided to destroy these bags instead of distributing them to the remaining beneficiaries. The Food and Civil Supplies Minister G. S. Bali of the Virbhadra Singh government has made this announcement which is being termed as full of political vendetta and very parochial in nature.

Party spokesman Ashok Kapadia has alleged that the Congress move tantamount to a big disregard to the former Prime Minister and a statesman par excellence. Mr. Vajpayee, he said, has become inactive in present-day politics but he still commands a great respect and is loved by the people. While reminding the Congress, the BJP said, there are more than 400 schemes, organisations and institutes still being run all over the country on the name of late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The party also questioned the domineering right of Nehru-Gandhi family to have State schemes and projects only to be named after them in a democratic polity.

The BJP Government was providing Rs.130 crore as ration subsidy to the people of the State and providing free carry bags was also a part of it, said the spokesman.

The Congress Government has earlier decided to review all the decisions taken by the previous BJP Government in last six months. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had made this announcement and has also ordered seizing of all computer hard discs and data pertaining to the last government.