Kerala: EC questions govt’s decision on free rice, cites model code of conduct

The decision to provide 25 kg of rice to BPL families was part of the Budget speech of Chief Minister Oomen Chandy.

By: PTI | New Delhi/kochi | Published: March 21, 2016 5:32 pm
Election Commission of India, ECI, Oomen Chandy, Kerala Government, Free Rice, Model Code of Conduct Photo for representational purpose.

A decision of the Kerala government to distribute free rice to 20 lakh families living below poverty line from April 1 has been questioned by the Election Commission citing model code of conduct.

The Chief Electoral Officer of Kerala E K Majhi has now referred the matter to a committee headed by the state Chief Secretary P K Mohanty to examine whether the move violates the model code of conduct which came into force on March 4 when polls to five states were announced.

The decision to provide 25 kg of rice to BPL families was part of the Budget speech of Chief Minister Oomen Chandy. The state Cabinet had last month approved the move to distribute rice from April one.

Though the decision was taken before the model code came into force, it is being implemented during the election period.

Office of the Kerala CEO said the state government has not been asked to defer the implementation till elections are over but the issue has only been referred to the committee headed by the Chief Secretary for further consideration.

Kerala will go for a single-phase poll on May 16.

State Food Minister Anoop Jacob told PTI that if the implementation is delayed, the state will approach the Election Commission as the “policy decision” was taken “much before” the model code came into force.

Citing a past precedent, he said in 2011, the Kerala High Court had set aside the Chief Electoral Officer’s order restraining the state government from implementing its decision to extend the scheme to distribute rice at Rs 2 a kg to families of the Above Poverty Line (APL) category subject to certain conditions.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App

  1. A
    Amit Dhorajiwalla
    Mar 21, 2016 at 3:40 pm
    is it Model Code of Conduct to carry out elections using a device that can be manited so that a chosen can be made winners/
    1. K
      Mar 21, 2016 at 10:40 pm
      If CM Chandy is growing rice in his personal fields without any governmental istance then he can give the rice free, if he is using the tax payer's money to further his position in the election, then he should be suspended from contesting. This is Cheating, Fraud, Bribery, taking undue advantage of the tax money for personal gains. Chandy should Go!
      1. Thomas Paul
        Mar 21, 2016 at 6:25 pm
        Laziest state in India; Cheating ;freebees ; day today life; a honest person cannot live peacefully. Now free food un ethical election fraud