Remove PM’s photo from COVID jab certificates in poll-bound states: EC

On Trinamool complaint, the poll panel reportedly writes to Health Ministry which will now have to update its software

Modi vaccine
| Photo: PTI (File)

On a complaint from the Trinamool Congress, the Election Commission has asked the Centre not to use Prime Minister Modi’s picture on COVID-19 vaccination certificates in poll-bound states.

Earlier this week, Bengal Chief Minister took up with the EC the “blatant misuse of official machinery by the Prime Minister” in the state.

Sources said the EC first asked for a report from the West Bengal Electoral Officer and then directed the Health Ministry to remove the photos. The EC missive to the Health Ministry on Friday (March 5) is said to be in conformity with its instructions against promoting the party in power when the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is in force.

The Centre has reportedly been directed to devise a system so that PM’s pictures don’t appear on vaccine certificates in poll-bound states.

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The second phase of COVID vaccination began on Monday (March 1) for those above 60 years. People above 45 years with serious illnesses can also register.

Also read: Modi’s Bangladesh visit to be loaded with political message for Bengal voters

The Health Ministry will now have to update its software that would mask the PM’s picture on the certificate, sources said.

During the 2017 elections in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh, the Commission had asked the government to remove images of Modi and the then Urban Development Minister from the website of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana.

Actor Mithun to join BJP?

Though West Bengal BJP leaders continue to be reticent, the buzz in political circles in the state is that Trinamool Congress’ former Rajya Sabha member actor Mithun Chakraborty is set to share the dais with Prime Minister Modi at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground on Sunday (March 7).

Speculation over the actor’s formal entry into the saffron party has been on ever since he RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat visited the actor’s Madh Island residence early last month. It is not known if the Hindi and Bengali movie star, who first featured in celebrated Bengali filmmaker Mrinal Sen’s ‘Mrigaya’ and later in Hindi blockbuster ‘Disco Dancer,’ will campaign for the BJP in the the Assembly election.

Also read: Ensure Bengal campaign narrative isn’t spoiled: PM tells BJP leaders

Sources in the BJP say Mithun is one of the many popular personalities the party will deploy against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Mithun quit the Rajya Sabha after two years in office after he was embroiled in the Sharda Chit Fund case. He returned the amount to the probe agency and resigned from the House citing ill-health.

 

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