Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan lashed out at the Congress in Kerala after the Election Commission in the state responded to the opposition party’s complaint and ordered that the distribution of the food kits, which was started during the pandemic, be stopped. The Congress in Kerala had approached the Election Commission asking the poll body to stop the distribution of welfare pensions in the state until the elections are done. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has accused the opposition of denying people their food and letting them starve.
Since April 2020, after the pandemic struck, the Left Democratic Front-led government in Kerala has been distributing free food kits that contain rice, lentils and other groceries through ration shops, state-run supply stores, etc. The government had also been providing free food kits to school children since they don't get midday meals with the schools remaining closed. Earlier, teachers distributed the kits at their homes and later, students were asked to collect them from their schools. The free food kit scheme was extended by the government even after lockdown.
The free food kits and distribution of pension for the elderly were the main schemes that helped the LDF government’s good image. Even during elections, the kits have been used as a campaigning tool, which is why other opposition fronts were not so happy.
When the state government decided to distribute the food kits for students this month, which had been pending for the last few months, the opposition parties in Kerala approached the Election Commission against it. They also wanted to block the distribution of the food kits given prior to Vishu festivals as well as the pensions until April 6, which is when Kerala goes to the polls.
The opposition said that the government has not distributed the food kits for children from September and is distributing it now with an eye on the elections.
Taking to Twitter, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala should seek an apology as he has “blocked” the food of the people. The Kerala CM said that people will not be influenced by free food kits and that they will cast their vote only by judging the functioning of the government in the last 5 years.
Pinarayi also said that the government will move legally against the EC’s decision and will try to distribute the food and pensions.