The Kerala High Court on Monday allowed the state government to distribute rice to non-priority ration card holders through ration shops in the poll bound state. The Court gave the directive in the state government plea challenging a recent State Election Commission order to halt the proposed distribution of rice to the ‘blue’ and ‘white’ card holders in view of the election model code of conduct. Staying the Election Commission order, the Court, however, directed the state government that no impression should be given or allowed to be created by it that the rice distribution was being undertaken to influence the voters in favour of the ruling party.
Challenging the Election Commission directive, counsel for state government submitted the decision to distribute rice to blue and white card holders was announced in the state budget presented in January and no arbitrariness can be attributed to the February 4 government order. The government submitted that the decision was taken keeping in mind the festivals of Easter, Vishu and Ramzan being celebrated in the state.
The opposition Congress-led UDF has been targeting the Left front government over distribution of subsidised rice and food kits ahead of the April 6 assembly polls, alleging it was violation of code of conduct besides lodging a complaint with the Election Commission following which the poll body ordered authorities to stop it..