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CM accuses Opposition of misleading ECI

‘Decision to distribute foodgrain taken much before announcement of polls’

March 28, 2021 06:24 pm | Updated March 29, 2021 09:42 am IST - Kozhikode

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. File

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. File

The war of words between Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the Opposition over the distribution of social welfare pension and food kits ahead of the Assembly polls continued on Sunday when Mr. Vijayan snubbed the latter saying “prathipaksham” (Opposition front) should not be “prathikarapaksham” (revengeful front).

The Chief Minister also accused Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala of lying and misleading the Election Commission of India (ECI) to prevent beneficiaries from getting foodgrain. “Mr. Chennithala had said in his complaint to the poll panel that the State government was trying to influence the voters by distributing the social welfare pension for April and May together. This is not true. We are planning to distribute the amount for March and April together. A government order had been issued much earlier to finish off the process by April 14,” Mr. Vijayan claimed.

“The distribution of food kits for Onam in 2020 had begun on August 11 though Thiruvonam was on August 31. It is not linked to the Assembly polls at all,” he said.

Foodgrain for children

About the food kit being distributed among beneficiaries, the Chief Minister said they were not supposed to be linked with the Vishu festival in April. “Food kits are being distributed ever since the pandemic struck. It has been on for months. The Food and Civil Supplies Department had issued an order in this regard on February 16. The foodgrain for schoolchildren is part of the midday meal scheme, the first phase of which was completed earlier. As per an order on February 20, the distribution was supposed to have been completed by March,” he said.

Mr. Vijayan wondered how all these decisions taken much before the announcement of the Assembly polls could be interpreted as a violation of the model code of conduct. The Chief Minister said that all these things were not freebies, but people’s right. Mr. Vijayan said that such interventions should continue, but the Opposition was trying to scuttle them.

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