‘No parties opposed the scheme'
Rajaji Mathew Thomas, MLA, filed an application before the Supreme Court on Saturday to direct the Chief Electoral Officer to call a meeting of those who had complained that the extension of the Rs.2-a-kg rice scheme to sections above the poverty line in the State was in violation of the model code of conduct enforced for the April 13 Assembly elections.
Last Wednesday, a Bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph of the court stayed the extension of the scheme, which will benefit 40 lakh people, on an appeal by the Election Commission against a Kerala High Court judgment allowing the extension.
In his application, Mr. Thomas, who was the petitioner before the High Court, submitted that the Chief Electoral Officer had acted on the complaints of Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy and three others when none of the political parties was against the scheme and had reached a consensus for extending its benefit to the eligible people without considering their caste, creed or politics. He said the United Democratic Front, led by the Congress, in its election manifesto, had promised to distribute rice to all ration-card holders at Re.1 a kg. He sought a direction to the Chief Electoral Officer to convene a meeting in which representatives of major political parties should also participate. He wanted a direction to implead Mr. Chandy; K. Sudhakaran, MP; A.P. Abdullakutty, MLA; and D. Aravindakshan, general secretary, Kerala State Pensioners' Association; as respondents in the special leave petition filed by the commission.