M A I N   N E W S

EC disallows atta-dal cards with CM’s photo
Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 8
The Punjab Government’s flagship Atta Dal Scheme has met with disapproval of the state Election Commission.

The commission has asked district authorities not to allow cards used for distributing foodgrains under the scheme, as these cards bear the photographs of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and Food Supplies Minister Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon. The good news for the Akali-BJP government, which had worked overnight to relaunch the scheme just before the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections came into force, is that the government has not been stopped from distributing foodgrains under the scheme. Even as the elections are round the corner, the state government will be distributing foodgrains worth Rs 170 crore under the scheme -- from February to May 2014.

State EC officials told The Tribune that the commission had been approached by the Food and Supplies Department, seeking directions if they could continue with the scheme. “We have allowed them to distribute the grains, but told them that they cannot use the cards issued to beneficiaries as it could amount to political propaganda for the Akali government," said a senior official.

The second innings of the Akali-BJP government in Punjab is attributed largely to the Atta-Dal scheme. It is for this reason that the government was eager to distribute foodgrains before the model code of conduct came into force.

Instructions have also been issued that the photographs of the Chief Minister on ambulances are to be covered immediately.





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