Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday launched the National Food Security Scheme by distributing ration cards bearing the Samajwadi Party (SP) colours and his photograph to a group of women at his residence in Lucknow. The ration cards will be distributed to around 3.32 crore people across the state under the scheme. The women who were given ration cards also received bags of either 5 kg of wheat or rice.
The bags also carried pictures of the CM.
Apprehending reactions from the opposition parties, Akhilesh, while handing out the ration cards, said, “Sookhe ke mamle me ungli uthi. Packets leke pahunch gaye to kaha bag par photo kaise aa gayi. Agar madad karna chahte hain to loktantra me zaroori hai ki kaam ke saath saath, yeh bhi pata ho ki kaam kaun kar raha hai (When we distributed food packets in Bundelkhand, fingers were pointed at us, asking why our photo was on the bags. But if one wants to help, it is necessary in a democracy that people know who is doing the work),” said Akhilesh.
“Under the scheme, the food and civil supply department has to distribute around Rs 3.32 crore such cards across the state. Claiming that his government was working towards reducing corruption in the state, Akhilesh said that no instances of corruption had been reported in distribution of the Samajwadi Pension. On November 3, another scheme to bring in transparency with the use of machines would be launched, he added.
The BJP raised strong objections to the move, saying that instead of properly implementing central government schemes, the state government was just indulging in politics. “We have strong objection to this move of the state government, where a picture of the chief minister has been printed on the ration cards being given under National Food Security scheme. It is the Modi government at the Centre which has ensured wheat at Rs 2 per kg, Rs 3 per kg rice and other grains at Re 1 per kg for around 3 crore poor people,” said Harish Chandra Srivastava, the party’s state spokesperson.
He also demanded that if photographs of the CM had to be printed, the ration cards must also carry pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.