Following the imposition of the model code of conduct, several government websites, including that of the Prime Minister’s Office, have taken down pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Union ministers, but some ministries are yet to comply.
The Lok Sabha elections will begin from April 11 and the announcement of the date for polling means the model code of conduct comes into immediate effect. It remains operational till the process is concluded.
The code states that the party in power – whether at the Centre or in the states – should ensure that it does not use its official position for campaigning.
Ministers and other government authorities cannot announce financial grants in any form. No project or scheme which may have the effect of influencing the voter in favour of the party in power can be announced, and ministers cannot use official machinery for campaign purposes.
In a letter written to the cabinet secretary and chief secretaries of states, the Election Commission had asked them to ensure that photographs of “political functionaries” on official websites are removed or hidden immediately.
The PMO website took down pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and so did the site of Press Information Bureau which disseminates government information to the media.
But the website of the Law Ministry still carries the pictures of Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, his junior minister PP Chaudhury and a link to PM’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ monthly radio address.
Same is the case with the website of the Ministry of Minority Affairs where pictures of minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and his junior minister Virendra Kumar are displayed.
Central and respective state governments have been asked to remove all unauthorised political advertisements in the form of writings on walls, posters, hoardings, banners and flags from public property and public spaces such as airports, railway stations, bus stands, municipal buildings, government offices and buses within three days of announcement of poll dates.