Health Ministry Removes PM’s Photo From Vaccination Certificates

This comes after the EC had issued orders to remove the photograph of PM Modi in the poll-bound states and UTs.

West Bengal
2 min read
Health Ministry Removes PM’s Photo From Vaccination Certificates

The Union Health Ministry is removing all photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from COVID-19 vaccine certificates in the upcoming Assembly elections in four states and one Union Territory, based on directions from the Election Commission of India (ECI).

After receiving a complaint from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) over alleged violation of the model code of conduct (MCC), the EC, on Saturday, 6 March, had asked the Union government to stop using Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture on COVID-19 vaccination certificates in states headed for Assembly elections.

Based on orders by the EC, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday, 9 March, wrote a letter noting that “necessary filters in Co-WIN have been applied for the vaccination centres situated in the four states of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Union Territory of Puducherry, as suggested by the Commission”, quoted NDTV.

This comes after the TMC approached the West Bengal Chief Electoral Officer, stating that the use of the PM’s photo was a “blatant misuse of official machinery” and violated the MCC.

Quoting sources, The Indian Express, in an earlier report, mentioned that the EC had asked the Health Ministry for the “factual position” regarding TMC’s complaint as a way of "routine process".

What Did the TMC Object To?

West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim had sought EC’s intervention a day after TMC MP Derek O'Brien alleged that PM Modi’s photographs were being used on COVID-19 certificates despite election dates being announced.

A group of TMC leaders met the EC over the use of PM Modi’s photographs on vaccination certificates, calling it a “blatant misuse of official machinery”.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi happens to be the star campaigner of the BJP in this Assembly elections. As a politician, he is seeking support for his party during rallies. In this situation, using his photo in vaccination certificates is akin to influencing voters and violates the model code of conduct,” Hakim was quoted by PTI as saying.

What Has EC Done About Hoardings With PM’s Pics at Petrol Pumps?

The Election Commission of India (EC) on Saturday had directed all petrol pump dealers in West Bengal to remove hoardings advertising central government’s schemes with PM Modi’s picture.

The EC reportedly gave 72 hours for the hoardings to be removed from the premises of the facilities.

West Bengal Assembly is set to go to polls from 27 March to 29 April in eight phases, the results of which will be declared on 2 May. This makes it the longest ever polling in the state so far, seemingly based on “assessments of law and order” by the EC.

(With inputs from NDTV, PTI and The Indian Express.)

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