If the opposition parties in the state earlier objected to distribution of carry bags with images of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Bharatiya Janata Party has now demanded removal of all hoardings highlighting centrally-sponsored schemes from the state.
Just two weeks before the assembly elections were announced, the Centre had hired a local advertiser who was given a contract to put up 240 hoardings across the state. In a complaint to the election commission, BJP spokesperson Ganesh Dutt said the commission should not adopt double standards by only seeking removal of hoardings and images of the state government schemes and BJP leaders.
The BJP had raised objections to the ban on use of bags carrying pictures of Vajpayee that were being disbursed free of cost with ration distributed under the public distribution system. The party has demanded immediate removal of posters and hoardings depicting the achievements of the central government.
Dutt said the state government had removed all hoardings of various welfare schemes since the model code of conduct came into effect on October 3. He rued that many hoardings and photographs of MNREGA, Bharat Nirman and other centrally-sponsored schemes are still present at several places in the state. The BJP spokesperson asked the EC to remove these hoardings as well. The BJP complaint added that in many government schools, hoardings highlighting the central schemes have not been removed yet.
The chief electoral officer has forwarded the compliant to the election commission office in Delhi. "The election commission has directed that all hoardings and advertisements put up by paying from the public exchequer -- whether of the state government or Centre -- should be immediately removed," says chief electoral officer Narinder Chauhan. He added that the commission has directed all deputy commissioners to get hoardings removed and sent a compliance report.