Controversy over Badal govt’s Atta-Dal scheme post poll notification

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Punjab government has on its own stopped distribution of subsidised food grains under its flagship Atta-Dal scheme and sought permission from the Election Commission of India to restart its distribution, Punjab Chief Electoral Officer V K Singh said today.

The scheme, under which wheat and pulses are distributed to blue card holders at subsidised rates, is considered to have played a key role in SAD-BJP alliance’s victory in the 2012 state elections.

“The (Atta Dal) scheme has been stopped by the government itself,” Singh said here when asked about its implementation in the state after the model code of conduct came into force.

He said the government had written to the EC, seeking approval for the continuation of the scheme in the poll-bound state.

“We have forwarded the representation of the government to the Election Commission for its advice in this regard,” he said clarifying that no directions were given by the CEO office to stop the implementation of the Atta-Dal scheme.

The officer pointed out that the EC had only stopped the distribution of subsidised food grains in 2014 during the Lok Sabha polls.

When asked if any political party lodged a complaint against the implementation of the scheme, Singh said his office did not receive any complaint in this regard.

He although added that a complaint in this connection was received at local level in Gurdaspur district.

Notably, the core committee of the Shiromani Akali Dal on January 7 had held Congress and the Aam Admi Party, responsible for the EC’s decision to put “inhuman curbs” on the distribution of Atta Daal to the poor.

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