Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has termed Centre’s decision of putting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s banners at government ration shops in the state as an election campaign ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Vijayan said that the ration system has existed in Kerala for a long time.
"The Central government is directing a new publicity method which was never there," he reportedly said.
He said it was clear that this was an election campaign ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
He said his government will inform the Centre, that this was “not right, and it is difficult to implement” in the state.
He added Kerala government will also check whether the Election Commission of India can also be informed of the matter.
He made the remarks in the state Assembly after an Opposition MLA asked whether the Central government had issued such a direction in Kerala.
In response to the question by IUML MLA P Abdul Hameed, the state's Civil Supplies Minister GR Anil replied that the Centre has given charge to the Food Cooperation of India (FCI) and the Kerala Food Department to put up over 14,000 banners and posters of the Prime Minister.
The Centre has also directed the installation of the Prime Minister's selfie points in 550 selected ration shops across Kerala.
Anil further said there was also an order to use carry bags with logos of the Central government for the distribution of food items.
He said FCI officials have been asked to check if the orders were implemented.
He, however, lamented that using the ration distribution system under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) for election publicity is not right.
The development comes just days after Kerala's Left Front government led a protest in New Delhi against the BJP-led Centre's alleged neglect and discrimination in the allocation of funds .
Leading the protest on February 8, Chief Minister Vijayan called it the beginning of a "reunited fight".