Action sought against CM for ‘free vaccine’ statement

The State Election Commission should proceed against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for his statement that COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed for free in Kerala as it amounted to violation of the model code of conduct, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala has said.

Speaking to mediapersons here on Sunday, Mr. Chennithala said the statement, which came on the eve of the next stage of the local body polls, was aimed at influencing voters. The Opposition parties were not opposed to the free supply of vaccines. However, making the vaccine distribution a short-cut for canvassing votes would be opposed, he said.

It was not clear when the vaccines would be available for distribution and whether the Centre would supply it for free to the States. Yet, the Chief Minister made the announcement on vaccine distribution to influence voters, he said.

BJP’s comment in Bihar

Mr. Chennithala said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too had announced before the Bihar elections that it would distribute vaccines for free. Both the BJP and the Chief Minister used the vaccine issue for canvassing votes, which amounted to violation of the code, he said.

He said the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government stood as an accused before the people of the State. The people had voted overwhelmingly against the government during the first two phases of the polls. It would be repeated in the third phase too, he said.

Even while criticising the Central investigation agencies probing various cases in the State, the Chief Minister had not uttered a word against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. The Chief Minister was all set to plead with the Prime Minister not to harass the government, he said.

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