CEC Circular no 23(A)(e)(iib) of 2012 — With reference to our previous directive on the covering of statues of elephants and others, it is hereby notified that:
1) No citizen eligible to vote may pass these covered statues and think, “Hey, wasn’t there a statue of an elephant here?” or “What the heck happened to that statue of Mayawati?”. Such thoughts are irrevocably banned. Instead, passers-by are encouraged to think “I have absolutely no clue what lies beneath those polythene sheets.” Nothing in the aforesaid order will apply to those below voting age, who may think whatever they like.
2) If a voter is unable to banish thoughts of elephants when he comes across a covered statue, he must associate the elephant with safaris, or with their huge size, or desperately recall jokes about elephants, rather than link them to the Bahujan Samaj Party.
3) We are aware of the criticism levelled against us for our earlier notification about covering elephants. In this regard, we wish to clarify that the CEC stands for the Chief Election Commissioner and not the Chief Elephant Commissioner.
4) The criticism that other election symbols, such as the hand, lotus, bicycle, hand-pump etc also need to be covered is misplaced, because these don’t involve the expenditure of public money. So far as we are aware, the production of the hand, indeed the entire human body, is the result of private enterprise.
5) In any case, the palm of the hand facing outwards, which is the symbol of the Congress party, is seldom used, except by traffic policemen. Furthermore, traffic policemen are publicly funded. Accordingly, we hereby notify that all traffic policemen should be removed from the five states in which elections are to be held immediately.
6) It has been brought to our notice that the historic Rajabai tower of the University of Mumbai has a clock on it. The clock is the symbol of the Nationalist Congress Party, the University of Mumbai is a public institution and municipal elections will shortly be held in Mumbai. We, therefore, order that the clock tower should be covered immediately, preferably by polythene sheets. In this connection, all public clock towers should also be covered in the five states in which elections are to be held.
7) Since voters may associate the flowers and grass in public parks with the election symbol of the Trinamool Congress and on the off chance that the parks may also contain lotuses, all public parks in the five states will henceforward remain closed until the elections.
8) The Baha’i Lotus Temple in Delhi is a private institution. But its sheer size and its resemblance to a lotus irremediably associate the temple with the BJP’s election symbol. We recommend, therefore, that arrangements be taken in hand to cover the temple by the time of the next national elections.
9) The presence of political leaders in publicly funded media, such as Doordarshan and All India Radio needs to be monitored closely. Election symbols should not be shown on Doordarshan. Political leaders appearing on Doordarshan are hereby directed to wear burqas, so that voters do not associate them with a political party. All-India Radio is directed to expunge all references to hands, lotuses, hammers, sickles, grass, elephants, bows and arrows, clocks and other election symbols from their programmes.
10) In order to enable the Election Commission to carry out its duties, Indian citizens are prohibited from making statements such as “What has the CEC been smoking? Could I have some of this fantastic stuff too?”
( Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint )
The views expressed by the author are personal