The Election Commission of India.(HT File Photo)
The Election Commission of India.(HT File Photo)

PM Modi’s photo on vaccination certificate violates model code, TMC tells ECI

  • TMC’s leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O, Brien asked the Election Commission to stop the Prime Minister "from taking unfair advantages and undue publicity at tax payer’s cost during the conduct of elections".
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:36 PM IST

West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) wrote to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday alleging that the use of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photograph on provisional certificates issued during Covid-19 vaccination violates the model code of conduct that comes into force after elections are announced.

In the letter, TMC’s leader in the Rajya Sabha Derek O, Brien wrote, “We insist that you stop the PM from taking unfair advantages and undue publicity at tax payer’s cost during the conduct of elections. His action clearly violates the provisions of Part VII (Party in Power) of the Model Code of Conduct that clear states: “The party in power whether at the Centre or in the State or States concerned, shall ensure that no cause is given for any complaint that it has used its official position for the purposes of its election campaign and in particular…(4) Issue of advertisement at the cost of public exchequer in the newspapers and oter media.”

HT has a copy of the letter.

The Election Commission announced the poll schedules for West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry on February 26.The election in Bengal will be held in eight phases between March 27 and April 29. Modi is scheduled to address an election rally at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Grounds on March 7. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has planned 20 rallies for him in the coming days.

“After elections have been declared, the PM is debarred from publicizing this name and claiming credit in this manner through the government's Co-WIN platform of vaccination,” the letter says.

“By placing his photograph, name and message on the provisional certificates issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, he is not only exploiting his post and powers but also stealing commendable credit from the producers of Covid vaccines. He is bluntly appropriating the dues of the vast army of selfless doctors, nurses and health service workers,” O’Brien wrote.

Reacting to the TMC’s allegation, Bengal BJP’s chief spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, “The ECI will surely look into the complaint. However, the TMC has lost its political and moral right to raise such issues because we have seen how chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s photographs have been misused.”

“Millions of people in Bengal could have seen the Prime Minister’s photographs all these years had the TMC government not changed the names of the Centre’s welfare schemes and passed those as its own. The chief minister’s face was used to publicise these,” Bhattacharya added.

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