THD NewsDesk, New Delhi: After the Trinamool Congress (TMC) registered a complaint against the health ministry, the Election Commssion (EC) has sought the response of the health ministry on the “factual position” of the use of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo on COVID-19 vaccination certificates, saying that it violates the model code of conduct (MCC).
As response to health minsistry, the EC official said “As a matter of routine, we always seek a response from all the involved parties in such complaints.” According to the Indian Express, an EC official said that the poll panel wants to ‘ascertain the facts first, whether these certificates are indeed being distributed on the instructions of the health ministry.
News agency PTI reported that the state CEO has been directed to ask to verify the veracity of the TMC’s complaint. Meantime, the commission has also sought a report from the West Bengal chief electoral officer on the matter. And based on the CEO’s report, the poll panel will decide the future course of action, PTI reported.
On Tuesday, the ruling TMC in West Bengal had termed the picture a misuse of official machinery by the prime minister. Later, TMC had approached the poll panel about the PM’s image on vaccination certificates generated through the Co-Win platform being a violation of the MCC in Bengal and other poll-bound states.
However, as reaction to these allegations, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh termed it as “baseless”, “Although, the model code came into force on February 26, the day the Election Commission had announced assembly polls in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, however the vaccination drive had started before the announcement of the election dates.”
“At petrol pumps, the hoardings put up on private land are advertising several welfare projects of the Centre. Basically, if a government project starts before the declaration of an election, it may continue in the same form,” Ghosh said.
Apart from including the beneficiary’s details and other vaccine related-information, each certificate also has a prominent banner with the photograph of Prime Minister Modi, along with exhortations in English (“Together We Will Defeat Covid-19”) and Hindi (“davai bhi aur kadai bhi“ which means “medicines as well as rigour”). Hence, India has emerged as perhaps the only country so far whose leader is using vaccination certificates to “promote his own politics and cult of personality” as per the recent analysis by The Wire.
On Wednesday, the EC had directed all petrol pumps in poll-going states to remove hoardings or advertisements with the prime minister’s photographs within 72 hours. Elections for West Bengal’s 294-member assembly will be held in eight phases between March 27 and April 29.