Photographs of ministers as well as politicians will not be allowed on posters or hoardings in the five poll-bound states, the election commission said on Tuesday.
The poll panel has asked for the photos to either be removed or “cover suitably” in the hoardings that publicise achievements of a party or functionary in keeping with the model code of conduct, which kicked in on January 4 when elections were called in five states.
Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur will vote for new assemblies beginning February 4. Results will be out on March 11.
“...No political party or functionary can use public resources and incur or authorise expenditure from public exchequer to eulogise himself or itself or enhance his/its own or any political leader’s image,” it said, reiterating instructions issued by it on December 12, 2004.
Advertisements paid for by public money that publicise achievements of political functionaries or parties violate the conduct code, the poll panel said.
“No political party or functionary can use public resources and incur or authorise expenditure from public exchequer to eulogise himself or itself or enhance his/its own or any political leader’s image”
It, however, allowed hoardings put up by the government to convey general message to the masses on family planning or social welfare schemes.
“… all those hoardings, advertisements which seek or purport to project the achievements of any living political functionary or political party and which carry their photos or name or party symbol should be removed forthwith,” it said
The election commission has also asked candidates to furnish a no-objection certificate from owners of private properties where their posters or hoardings are put up, failing which costs will be added to their expense accounts.
The Congress had on Monday approached the EC asking for pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be removed from government posters at public places, including petrol pumps, in the election-bound states.
EC sets up screening committees
The panel set up screening committees for disposal of clearances sought by state governments to ensure the conduct code is not violated.
To be headed by chief secretaries, these committees have the power to decide if advertising or continuation of a programme by a state government violates the code.
For instance, the urban developed ministry recently sought the poll panel’s permission to continue advertisements the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on radio and television.
Such permissions will now be given by the screening committees.
“This will also do away with the requirement of having to approach the EC with request to allow advertisements or and also to avoid sending to the ECI (election commission of India) and CEOs (chief election officers) frivolous references, “ an EC official said.
(With agency inputs)