NEW DELHI: The Election Commission has issued a clarification regarding the ‘covering’ of statues in UP.
In a release, the EC said: “The Model Code of Conduct for political parties and candidates envisages providing a level-playing field for all political parties and candidates in the election. There are standing instructions of the Commission that images and photographs of the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, Ministers and other political functionaries who are active in public life should not be displayed in government buildings and on premises as that would have the effect of disturbing the levelplaying field vis-a-vis the functionaries of other political parties and candidates.” Arguing that similar steps have been taken in the past, the EC release further said: “Statues of elephant, which is the reserved election symbol of the Bahujan Samaj Party, and statues of Mayawati, who is the president of the party, constructed in public places at government expenses get covered in the instructions mentioned above and their continued display at public places during the election period will be violative of the spirit of the Model Code and would be against the principles of level-playing field for all parties and candidates.” The former CECs, however, offer similar reasons to defend the EC decision. Former Chief Election Commissioner J M Lyngdoh says,” The Election Commission had no choice. It had received complaints. There are elephant parks and the party symbol is prominently thus displayed. The EC order was just, and in order.” Another former CEC T S Krishnamurthy adds, “The order may be criticised but it was necessary. The catch here lies in the fact that these symbols were erected using public funds.”