New Delhi, March 11:
The certificates issued against Covid-19 vaccination in the poll-bound states of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, and Kerala, and the Union Territory of Puducherry, will no longer carry Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo. This decision has been taken by the Union Health Ministry under the direction of the Election Commission after the Trinamool Congress pointed out that it was a violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
The Election Commission had, on February 26, announced the poll dates – March 27 to April 29 – for these Assemblies with the results to be declared on May 2.
Last week, West Bengal’s ruling party cited the PM’s photos on the certificates to accuse him of stealing credit from doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers and “appropriating their dues”. It also alleged that the poll code was being violated with the photos.
“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 leader Derek O’Brien wrote in the letter to the poll body.
Shortly after, on March 6, the Election Commission asked the government to drop the Prime Minister’s photo from the certificates in these states.
In a letter dated March 9, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote back to the poll panel saying that the directions will be complied with. “Thereafter, necessary filters in Co-WIN have been applied for the vaccination centres situated in the four states of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Union Territory of Puducherry, as suggested by the Commission,” the letter said.