Remove PM Modi's photo from coronavirus vaccination certificates: EC
After the Trinamool Congress (TMC) complained about using Prime Minister Narendra Modi's photo on coronavirus vaccination certificates, the Election Commission has issued directives. The apex body ordered the federal government to stop using PM Modi's image on certificates in poll-bound West Bengal, Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry. The EC wrote to the Health Ministry on Friday reiterating its position on the matter.
This week, TMC, which is in power in West Bengal and facing tough competition from rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), approached the state's Chief Electoral Officer saying that using PM Modi's picture violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC). The EC has asked the Health Ministry for its "factual position" on TMC's complaint. A report was also sought from West Bengal's Chief Electoral Officer.
"We want to ascertain the facts first. For instance, whether these certificates are indeed being distributed on the instructions of the Health Ministry. As a matter of routine, we always seek a response from all the involved parties in such complaints," an official told IE.
The Health Ministry in its response underlined that the vaccination drive started way before the MCC came into effect on February 26. However, the EC maintained that the party can't promote itself through government means when the MCC is in place. Reportedly, the ministry has now updated its software to introduce a filter that would cover PM Modi's picture in the jab certificates.
This isn't the first instance when EC has stopped BJP from using PM Modi's photo during electioneering. During 2017 polls in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, EC had ordered to delete PM Modi's images from the website of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Ahead of 2019 general polls, a movie on PM Modi, starring actor Vivek Oberoi, had also miffed the Opposition.