UP elections: Govt removes ‘Samajwadi’ from state-run ambulances after EC order
Before the 2012 assembly election, the Election Commission had issued a similar order, asking authorities to cover statues of elephants – electoral symbol of then ruling Bahujan Samaj Party -- installed in Dalit memorials and parks.assembly elections Updated: Feb 26, 2017 20:26 IST
The Uttar Pradesh government removed the word “Samajwadi” on Saturday from 1,488 state-run ambulances on an election commission order following complaints that using the term might benefit the ruling Samajwadi Party in ongoing assembly polls.
State additional chief electoral officer (CEO) PK Pandey said, “The election commission has directed UP chief secretary Rahul Bhatnagar to cover up the word Samajwadi (socialist) painted on ambulances run by the state health and family welfare department.”
Before the 2012 assembly election, the election commission had issued a similar order, asking authorities to cover statues of elephants – electoral symbol of then ruling Bahujan Samaj Party -- installed in Dalit memorials and parks.
Pandey said a man identified as JPS Rathor had petitioned the poll panel demanding removal of the word “Samajwadi” from the government ambulances.
In the petition Rathor said the ambulance service was launched by the state administration, and pointed out that SP leaders were highlighting the ambulance service in their poll campaign.
The petition said using the word “Samajwadi” was also against the ethics of the election under which all the political parties are given a level-playing field by the poll panel.
The ruling party is fighting in alliance with the Congress to come back to power in India’s most-populous state and is up against the BSP and the BJP.
The state health and family welfare department runs 1,488 ambulances under the 108 and 102 service in public private partnership (PPP) mode with GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI).
After coming to power in the 2012 assembly election, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had launched the 108 ambulance services on September 12, 2012 and the 102 services on January 18, 2014. The logo ‘Samajwadi Swasthya Sewa’(Socialist health service) was painted on all the ambulance services. The opposition political parties- BJP and BSP -- had objected over the use of Samajwadi on government ambulances.