The Covid-19 vaccination certificates in the poll-bound states of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, and Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry will no longer carry Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo on it.
The Union Health Ministry took the decision on Thursday under the direction of the Election Commission of India after the Trinamool Congress pointed out that it was a violation of the model code of conduct in place ahead of elections.
The Election Commission had announced poll dates on February 26. Assembly elections in these states and UT will take place from March 27 to April 29 with 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 the poll code was being violated by continued use of 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 his complaint 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 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.