The Congress on Monday, 9 January, sought the removal of posters and banners bearing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's face from poll-bound states. In a letter to the Election Commission (EC), the Congress complained that this was in violation of the Model Code of Conduct, and will interfere with free and fair elections.
Five states - Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur - are set to go to the polls over the next two months, according to dates announced by the EC last week.
In its letter to the EC, the Congress wrote: "Your kind attention is invited to the hoardings fixed at various petrol pumps in UP, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur, with the photograph of Mr Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister, regarding distribution of cooking gas etc. fixed by various states and private oil and gas companies. Such advertisements are not permissible during the Model Code of Conduct (MCC)."
Issued by Congress's legal cell chief KC Mittal, the letter sought EC's intervention in the matter, claiming that the commission had earlier ordered the removal of posters, banners and advertisements in these states issued by state governments with photographs of the respective chief ministers, or any other persons. Mittal claimed that the EC should do the same with advertisements by the Central government, with the Prime Minister's photographs on them.
"The hoardings, posters, banners of the Central government with the photograph of the Prime Minister at any place within the election-bound states cannot continue, since it is in violation of the MCC and will interfere with free and fair elections. All such hoardings, banners, posters or any other advertisements in these states by the Central government and the Prime Minister or any authority or the office bearers of the Bharatiya Janata Party are liable to be removed forthwith," read the letter.
"It is therefore requested that the commission may please order removal of all such hoardings of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi from the petrol pumps and any other place in these states along with posters, banners of the Central government or Central bodies in the form of any advertisement by them," wrote Mittal.