Free ration scheme extended with Bihar polls in mind: Thorat

Mumbai, Jun 30 (PTI) Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement of extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) was made with an eye on Bihar elections.

Thorat, who is the state's revenue minister, also pointed out that the PM did not say anything about the stand- off with China in eastern Ladakh in his address.

'The prime minister's speech was a let-down....he did not provide any relief to the poor nor did he show his `red eyes' (gave any stern message to) to China,' the Congress leader said.

'After the coronavirus pandemic broke out, the free foodgrains scheme was launched to provide five kg of foodgrainsto the poor. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had demanded that the scheme be extendedtill September. The decision to extendan existing schemeis administrativematter and there was no need to mention it through a national address,' Thorat said.

'But he announced the extension of the scheme with an eye on Bihar polls in November. The poor have other needs besides food. Five kg of rice, wheat and chana dal is a meager help. This will not last even for a month,' he said.

Rs 7,500 in cash must be deposited in bank accounts of the poor every month, Thorat demanded.

'The PM has indicated that the pandemic will stay till November,' he quipped.

Prime minister Modi on Tuesday announced extension of the PMGKAY, a programme to provide free ration to over 80 crore people, till November end. PTI MR KRK KRK