Cong alleges poll code violation by PM Modi for extending free ration scheme, to approach EC

Cong alleges poll code violation by PM Modi for extending free ration scheme, to approach EC

New Delhi, Nov 7 (PTI) The Congress on Tuesday claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement of a five-year extension of the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana was 'blatant violation' of the model code of conduct and said the party would approach the Election Commission on the issue.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said they would be meeting the Election Commission on the issue and will seek its intervention, as the announcement was made by the prime minister during the Chhattisgarh election campaign even without the approval of the Union Cabinet.

Ramesh said the party has sought time from the Election Commission, but will also file an online complaint against the prime minister's announcement to the poll body, urging it to act against the PM.

'This announcement of extension of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) by five years is a clear violation of the model code of conduct as it was made even without the approval of the Union Cabinet during the poll process,' he said.

'We would certainly approach the Election Commission and have sought time from it,' he said.

He also clarified that the Congress was not against the scheme but was against the announcement during the poll process and in violation of the model code.

In a post on X, he also said the five-year extension is not only a recognition of the 'Prime Minister's flailing image' but also of the deepening economic distress and financial pain.

'A desperate Prime Minister announced a five-year extension of the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana in the midst of the Chhattisgarh election campaign. This is a blatant violation of the Model Code of Conduct. Will the @ECISVEEP take note and act?' Ramesh said.

'Now, it turns out that the Union Cabinet has not yet approved the extension. Actually, it is not surprising since this is how Mr. Modi functions. The Cabinet is a non-entity. First his announcement, then Cabinet approval. Recall, November 8, 2016?' he said.

In any case, the PMGKAY is itself a rebranded and repackaged National Food Security Act, 2013 that as the chief minister, Modi had aggressively opposed, he claimed.

Addressing a poll rally in poll-bound Chhattisgarh last week, Modi had said the government will extend for five years the free ration scheme, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, covering 80 crore poor people.

'During COVID-19, the biggest concern of the poor was what they would feed their children... Then I decided that I would not let any poor sleep hungry. Hence the BJP government started the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana,' he had said.

'Even today, lakhs of poor people have been getting free rice and gram under this scheme which is ending in December, but your son (referring to himself) who has come out from among you has decided... The BJP government will extend the free ration scheme for 80 crore poor people for the next five years,' Modi had said. PTI ASK/SKC SKC KVK KVK

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