The Election Commission (EC) has directed the Punjab government that new ‘Blue Cards’ — given to beneficiaries of the Atta-Dal Scheme (of food security) — issued during the imposition of the election code of conduct should not have photographs of political personalities.
Further, the EC has directed the state government to either remove or cover photos of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on the Dial 108 ambulances. And in another directive, the commission has asked the government that its official calendars with pictures of political personalities be removed from public places.
According to a senior functionary in the office of Punjab’s chief electoral officer (CEO), if the Blue Cards issued from now on bear the pictures of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and food minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, as has been the case on the cards issued so far, it will be a violation of the code of conduct which will remain in force till the completion of election process in May. The official added that nothing could be done about cards issued already bearing the pictures.
As for the widely circulated Punjab government official calendar of 2014, it has four big photographs of the frontline leaders of the SAD-BJP coalition. Either these calendars will have to be removed during the code period, or be covered.
Meanwhile, the government has sought permission from the EC that officials under transfer who could not join their new postings due to the code coming into force be permitted to take up their new assignments. It is learnt that the office of the state CEO has sent a reference to the EC in this regard.