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EC to screen govt ads; PM photo on hoardings disallowed

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NEW DELHI: Even as the Election Commission has set up committees to screen and clear government advertisements in various forms in the five poll-bound states, it has asked the cabinet secretary to remove the prime minister Narendra Modi’s photograph from hoardings at petrol pumps in Goa and gas consumer certificates in Uttarakhand.

These committees will examine all ads including those for audio-visual media including television and radio.

“The Commission had received a complaint that, in Goa, hoardings with photographs of the prime minister were displayed at petrol pumps. The Commission had issued necessary directions on 6 January," said a letter to the cabinet secretary.

The Commission said it had also received a press clipping showing that certificates bearing the prime minister’s photograph were being distributed by oil companies to the LPG consumers in Uttarakhand who had surrendered gas subsidy.

“This is not permissible under the Model Code of Conduct or under the ECI instructions. You are requested to ensure that the instructions are brought to the notice of all concerned for strict compliance in letter and spirit,” the Commission said.

Earlier this week, the EC had reminded all concerned about its 2004 order that government-funded advertisements which publicise achievements of political functionaries or parties violate the Model Code of Conduct guidelines.

The Commission had said the posters that publicise achievements of political parties or their functionaries should be either removed or covered suitably in the poll-bound states. Only those government hoardings with general messages on social welfare schemes and awareness campaigns are allowed.

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