After Siddaramaiah app goes offline, Election Commission wants his photos scrubbed from official media

In less than six months after its launch, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's namesake app was removed from the Android Play Store. Now, the Karnataka chief minister is staring at all mentions of him and work conducted by the Congress government over the past few years being scrubbed from the government's online presence, reports claimed.

According to The Hindu, an Election Commission official told the newspaper that the "Election Commission of India has ordered the removal of all pictures of Siddaramaiah and other Congress Minister from government websites", and could also include "previous posts on social media championing achievements of the government".

A screenshot of Siddaramaiah app page on Android Play Store

A screenshot of Siddaramaiah app page on Android Play Store

The removal, it claims is as a result of the Model Code of Conduct which is now in effect in the state following the announcement of the election dates, and requires ministers contesting an election to not use government resources or official media for electioneering, a report published in the Hindu claimed.

The Model Code of Conduct state that "official mass media during the election period for partisan coverage of political news and publicity regarding achievements with a view to furthering the prospects of the party in power shall be scrupulously avoided", the Election Commission of India Model Code of Conduct reads.

Quoting an ECI official, the news report said, "We have already got the chief minister’s photos removed from the government websites. On similar grounds, any data stored on government works or achievements should be removed from official online content."

The e-governance Department officials claimed that a team will also be "reviewing over 5,600 tweets on the Chief Minister’s official page or 10,000 tweets on the Karnataka Varthe page".

The Siddaramaiah app's removal had launched suspicions earlier especially since its removal came soon after the Indian National Congress app was alleged of data leak and linked to the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica row.

The political data analytics firm is accused of using unauthorised Facebook data to help political parties manipulate public opinion. Several political parties including Congress has been named as its client.

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Updated Date: Mar 30, 2018 10:48:44 IST

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