The Election Commission (EC) has requested the Union authorities to cease utilizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image on Covid-19 vaccination certificates in states headed to Assembly elections. The EC’s order got here on a grievance by the Trinamool Congress this week.
Sources mentioned the EC wrote to the Health Ministry on Friday reiterating its standing directions gainst selling the occasion in energy by authorities means when the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was in power.
Model Code of Conduct
The EC has stopped the usage of PM’s footage in posters and web sites of presidency welfare schemes throughout earlier elections as nicely. In 2017, when Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and UP have been headed to polls, it had ordered the removing of Modi’s image from the PMAY web site.
The Ministry was instructed to implement the directions with regard to the vaccination certificates being distributed in West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry.
The EC’s resolution got here after the Health Ministry, in its reply to the panel, mentioned the vaccination drive was an ongoing authorities initiative that had began a lot earlier than the MCC got here into power every week in the past.
To adjust to the EC’s route, the Health Ministry will now must replace its software program to introduce a filter that may masks the PM’s image on the certificates, sources mentioned.
The EC has prior to now forbidden the usage of the PM’s image on posters and official web sites of presidency schemes throughout elections. During the 2017 elections in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, the Commission had requested the Cabinet Secretary to take away photos of Modi and the then Urban Development Minister from the web site of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.
The TMC had approached the West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer to complain that the usage of PM’s picture was a “blatant misuse of official machinery” and violated the MCC.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi happens to be the star campaigner of the BJP in these Assembly elections. He is seeking support for his party during rallies. In this situation, using his photo in vaccination certificates is akin to influencing voters, and violates the model code of conduct,” West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim had advised reporters after assembly election officers in Kolkata on Wednesday.