Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 18 May 2024 7.04 PM IST

High court's permission to run Vishu-Ramzan markets; relaxation of code of conduct becomes beneficial to common man


One of the main reasons for the demand for a single election in the country is that the frequent assembly elections and parliamentary elections and the code of conduct that is part of it are hampering the development process of the country. Governments will have to postpone many important decisions during the election period. Governments do not dare to announce welfare schemes, concessions, etc., fearing that the ruling party will be accused of trying to influence the people. Moreover, things like this cannot be announced without the permission of the Election Commission. This time, Ramadan and Vishu came during the election period. Every year, the Consumer Fed regularly opens Vishu-Ramzan markets across the state. This time the Election Commission stopped it from opening. Vishu Markets, which provides avenues for buying 13 subsidized items, is a major relief to people in this time of price hike.

No one here is going to change their vote because they received subsidized goods. The Consumer Fed approaching the High Court against the Election Commission's ban resulted in a decision in favour of the people. High Court has given permission to open 256 Vishu Markets in the state. Goods worth 17 crores were stocked through e-tenders well before the announcement of elections. Justice Devan Ramachandran, while allowing Vishu Markets to open, pointed out that basic life concerns should be given priority. The court has directed that Rs 5 crore allocated by the government for subsidy should not be released till the end of the elections and Vishu Markets should not be used for political gain.

The court has said that the commission has the right to intervene if any candidate or party misuses it for political gain. The Election Commission's counsel argued that starting markets at this stage with government subsidies would be a violation of the Election Code of Conduct. However, the government informed that the decision to start Ramzan - Vishu markets was taken on February 16. It is quite commendable and welcome that the court has prioritized the comfort of the common man over the stringent restrictions of the code of conduct during the hot summer when the common man is struggling for money.

The markets will operate in 179 Triveni stores and major cooperative societies in 77 taluks. Sales at Vishu Markets will be on subsidised rates just like in Supplyco. Also, other products in Triveni stores will be available at a 10-30 percent discount. In the past, Election Commissions did not have the habit of prohibiting such bazaars. Vishu and Ramzan cannot be planned according to election time. It happens every year and such bazaars are held in connection with it. People should not be deprived of the benefits they are justly entitled to because of the code of conduct. Also, who can say that the prices of daily necessities will not go up after the elections? So people should be prepared to make maximum use of this opportunity.

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