New Delhi: Ahead of the marathon elections that are scheduled to take place in four states beginning this month, the Election Commission has asked the Centre to remove Prime Minister Narendra Modi's photo from Coronavirus vaccine certificates. The order has only been issued for four states where model code of conduct is already in place, sources have said.
The development comes following complaints from Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress who had alleged that office machinery are blatantly being used by the Prime Minister.
According to the sources, election body had sought a report from the West Bengal electoral office in the matter. Following which, it had directed the Union Health Ministry to delete the photos. The government has been told to find an alternative for PM Modi's photo that is being printed on every vaccine certificate in the poll-bound state.
However, in other states, where elections are not near, certificates are allowed to have PM's photos. Bengal's ruling party had said that using photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on certificates of vaccination distribution is stealing credits from doctors, nurses and healthcare workers.
"By placing his photograph, name and message on the provisional certificates issued by the ministry of health and family welfare, he is not only exploiting his post and powers but also stealing commendable credit from the producers of Covid vaccines. He is blatantly appropriating the dues of a vast army of selfless doctors, nurses and health service workers," Trinamool Congress leader Derek O'Brien wrote in the letter to the election body.
The Assembly elections in four states -- Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry -- will commence from March 27. Bengal will have elections in eight phases.