Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 17 April 2021 6.07 AM IST

EC seeks report on Modi photo on COVID-19 vaccine certificate


NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India has asked the chief electoral officer of West Bengal for a report on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo being used on the digital certificates being given to Covid-19 vaccine recipients, after the Trinamool Congress lodged a complaint with the panel in this regard.

The Bengal CEO has been given 24 hours to furnish the report. Sources in the ECI said the commission would take a decision on the matter on the basis of the CEO’s report.

The Trinamool Congress Tuesday complained to the Election Commission of India about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo and name appearing on the Covid-19 vaccination certificates, calling it a “blatant” violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

The Trinamool complaint followed a report in ThePrint that highlighted how Modi’s photo on the certificates had caused heartburn among Opposition parties, especially in non-BJP-ruled states.

Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien told the EC that this amounted to “blatantly misusing official machinery” ahead of the Assembly polls in West Bengal, taking away credit from healthcare workers.

“By placing his photograph, name and message on the provisional certificates issued by the Ministry of Health and Family welfare, he is not only exploiting his post and powers but also stealing commendable credit from the producers of Covid vaccines,” O’ Brien wrote in his letter to the ECI.

“He is blatantly appropriating the dues of a vast army of selfless doctors, nurses and health service workers,” he wrote.

The EC had on Wednesday directed all petrol outlets and other agencies to remove hoardings advertising central government schemes and carrying images of Narendra Modi.

A Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) leader on Thursday lodged a complaint with the Election Commission demanding the removal of the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the COVID-19 vaccination certificate, issued to people in poll-bound Kerala.

In the brief letter, Midhun Shah, who is also the State co-coordinator of the Kerala State Youth Commission, pointed out that the model code of conduct was already in force in the southern State, where Assembly election is scheduled on April 6.

"The certificate, issued for receiving the free COVID-19 vaccine in the State, carries photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and excerpts of his speech.

As it may influence the election procedure, I request you to take necessary steps to remove it," he said.

Mr. Shah later said that the complaint was lodged based on the provisional certificate which he got after receiving the shot at a vaccination centre here this morning.

"As the State-coordinator of the Youth Commission, I received the first dose of the vaccine this morning. I was surprised to see the Prime Minister's colour photo and wordings in it. I feel it is a violation of model code of conduct and so approached the EC seeking its removal," he told PTI.

The EC had on Wednesday directed all petrol outlets and other agencies to remove hoardings advertising central government schemes and carrying images of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, from the premises within 72 hours, citing violation of the model code of conduct.

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