MARCH 6, 2021
NEW DELHI: The Election Commission has asked the health ministry to exclude the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Covid-19 vaccination certificates being issued to beneficiaries in poll-bound West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
Citing its standing instructions of December 24, 2004 asking for removal of images of living political functionaries on government advertisements that seek or purport to project their achievements as no “political functionary can use public resources…to enhance his own personal image”, the poll panel in a letter written to the health ministry on Thursday said the instructions should be scrupulously followed in letter and spirit.
“If necessary, the ministry may find technical solution to the issue of excluding these four states and UT of Puducherry by using appropriate filters etc,” it stated.
Sources in the health ministry said the ministry will peruse the instructions of EC and then comply with the poll panel’s directions.
After receiving a complaint from TMC recently against the use of PM’s image on Covid vaccination certificates in West Bengal, the EC had sought a response from the health ministry. The ministry in a letter to EC on March 4 pointed out that the vaccination drive was launched well before assembly polls in four states and one UT were announced.
EC, while noting that Covid-19 vaccination drive was launched on January 16 while poll schedule was announced on February 26, said, “this is to advise you that instructions of the commission are scrupulously followed in letter and spirit”.