Kerala Chief Minister V. S. Achuthananan on Wednesday objected to the Railway Minister Mamata Banerji announcing free local travel for girl students on trains while the model code of conduct for the elections was in force.
The Chief Minister also wrote to the Election Commission protesting against Commission ordering the suspension of follow up action on Kerala government’s order extending the scheme for providing rice at Rs. 2 a kg to more people.
The Chief Minister said that the Kerala Cabinet had decided to extend the scheme to families living above the poverty line (APL) on February 23. The orders in that respect were issued on February 25. The code of conduct had come into force only on the evening of March 1. There was no justification in saying that the code would be in the way of implementing an earlier decision.
Mr. Achuthanandan noted that Tamil Nadu had cut the tax on petrol on March 1. The travel concession to girls was announced in Parliament on Tuesday. Was it to be understood that the code did not apply to the Central government? he asked.
He said that the Kerala government was already providing rice at Rs. 2 a kg to 40 lakh families. It was to be extended to more poor people irrespective of whether they belonged to the BPL or APL category.
To questions about his candidature in the State Assembly elections, the Chief Minister said that it was a question to be asked and answered later. He hoped that those concerned would clarity the matter.