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Remove PM Modi’s photo from vaccine certificates: EC to Centre

The Election Commission(EC) has asked the health ministry to remove Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image and name on Covid-19 vaccination certificates in poll bound states.

In a letter to the Union Health Ministry on Friday, EC reiterated its guidelines on the model code of conduct while asking for removal of Modi’s image and name in vaccine certificates issued in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

The letter comes against the backdrop of a complaint by the Trinamool Congress that the picture of the prime minister on COVID-19 vaccination certificates violates the model code, according to news agency PTI.

In a letter to the health ministry, the poll panel is learnt to have referred to certain provisions of the model code which bar the use of advertisement at the cost of the public exchequer.

PTI quoting sources aware of the correspondence between the Election Commission and the ministry reported the panel has not referred to any individual or personalities but has asked the health ministry to follow the provisions of the model code in letter and spirit.

“A source said the health ministry may have to use filters so that the picture of the prime minister is not printed on certificates given to those who take the COVID-19 vaccine in poll-bound West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry,” the news agency reported.

It may take time to put in place the filters in the system.

The TMC had on Tuesday approached the poll panel about Prime Minister Narendra Modi”s image on vaccination certificates generated through the Co-Win platform being a violation of the model code of conduct in Bengal and other poll-bound states.

It had termed the picture a “misuse of official machinery by the PM”.

Clause seven of the model code states that “issue of advertisement at the cost of public exchequer… regarding achievements with a view to furthering the prospects of the party in power shall be scrupulously avoided”.

The model code had come into force in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry on February 26, the day the EC announced polls in these five states.