The Opposition Congress led UDF and BJP in Kerala on Sunday moved the State Election Commission against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's statement that the COVID-19 vaccine would be made available free of cost, saying it violated the model code, as local body polls to four northern districts will be held on December 14. However, the ruling CPI(M) dismissed the charges as 'childish".
United Democratic Front convener M M Hassan told reporters that the Front moved the SEC,as the announcement was a violation of the model code, given that the four northern districts are going to the polls on December 14. "There was no urgency to make such an announcement," he said Senior Congress leader K C Joseph filed an online complaint in this regard with the SEC.
BJP state chief K Surendran, in his complaint, alleged that the Chief Minister was trying to woo voters through such announcements and it was a violation of the model code. Terming the charges as 'childish,' Left Democratic Front convener and CPI(M) state secretary in-charge A Vijayaraghavan told reporters at Thrissur that the CM's statement was part of the ongoing COVID-19 treatment procedure in the state.
"The UDF allegation is childish. The COVID-19 treatment in the state is being provided free of cost. The announcement of giving the vaccine also free of cost was part of the process of him explaining details of the treatment," the LDF convener said.
The Chief Minister stated on Saturday that the COVID-19 vaccine would be made available free of cost to all people in Kerala. "No one will be charged for the vaccine. This is the stand of the government," he told reporters at Kannur.
Vijayan also said the quantity of the vaccine that would be allotted to the state by the Centre was not yet known. The Centre on Tuesday said three COVID-19 vaccines, developed by Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute of India and Pfizer, are under active consideration ofIndia's drug regulator and there is hope that early licensure is possible for all or any of them.
Five vaccine candidates are under different phases of clinical trials in the country.