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Kerala poll panel seeks Pinarayi explanation over ‘free Covid vaccine’ statement

Pinarayi Vijayan had made the statement to the media on Saturday -- after the model code of conduct had come into play for the final phase of Kerala’s local body elections.

By: Express News Service | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: December 15, 2020 8:25:03 am
As Pinarayi Vijayan campaigns online, Opposition says he ‘ran away due to scandals’Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. (File)

The Kerala State Election Commission has sought an explanation from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over complaints that he violated the model code of conduct by saying that the Covid-19 vaccine would be made available free of cost.

Vijayan had made the statement to the media on Saturday — after the model code of conduct had come into play for the final phase of Kerala’s local body elections.

State Election Commissioner V Bhaskaran said the commission has received complaints from the Opposition Congress and BJP. “The Commission would hear what the Chief Minister has to say on the issue. We have sought an explanation. The Chief Minister himself has to explain under which circumstances he had made the statement. The next step of action would be decided after getting the version of the Chief Minister,” he said. The three-phased local body elections ended Monday, with four northern districts going to polls in the final phase. The elections are being seen as a referendum for the CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala, with Assembly polls scheduled for April-May next year.

The results of the local body elections will be declared Wednesday. After casting his ballot, Vijayan said, “The people are with this government. The opposition has been spreading lies against the government. The huge turnout of voters indicates that people are with this government and they want to register their indignation against spreading canards against the government,” the CM said.

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