Why have photos of Narendra Modi not been removed from tickets, passes: EC asks railways, civil aviation ministries

The Election Commission of India has written to the ministries of Railways and Civil Aviation, asking them why photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have not been removed from rail tickets and Air India boarding passes in spite of the Model Code of Conduct having come into effect.

FP Staff March 27, 2019 10:10:05 IST
Why have photos of Narendra Modi not been removed from tickets, passes: EC asks railways, civil aviation ministries
  • Both ministries have been given three days to submit their replies

  • On 25 March, Air India had announced that it would roll back its boarding passes bearing photographs of Narendra Modi and Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani

  • On 20 March, it was announced that tickets with photos of the prime minister would be withdrawn by the Railways after Trinamool Congress complained to the Election Commission about them

The Election Commission of India has written to the ministries of Railways and Civil Aviation, asking them why photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi have not been removed from rail tickets and Air India boarding passes in spite of the Model Code of Conduct having come into effect.

Both ministries have been given three days to submit their replies.

On 25 March, Air India had announced that it would "roll back" its boarding passes bearing photographs of Prime Minister Modi and Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. The airlines had clarified that the photographs had appeared as third party advertisements. The matter came to light after former Punjab DGP Shashi Kant on Monday tweeted a photograph of his boarding pass issued at the New Delhi airport, questioning how pictures of the two leaders could be on it when the MCC was in place across the country.

GoAir, which has not been served a show cause notice yet by the Election Commission, had announced on 26 March that it would withdraw passes with the photos of Modi and Rupani on them. Both airlines had used advertisements of the Vibrant Gujarat summit.

Why have photos of Narendra Modi not been removed from tickets passes EC asks railways civil aviation ministries

An Air India boarding pass bearing photographs of Modi and Vijay Rupani. Twitter/@shashikantips54

Likewise, on 20 March, the Indian Railways had also announced that tickets with photos of the prime minister would be withdrawn after Trinamool Congress complained to the Election Commission about them.

In their response to the controversy, the railways had also said that the photos appeared as a third-party ad and were leftovers from a pack of tickets printed a year earlier during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit. The national transporter had instructed zones to withdraw the tickets and discard the remaining reams of the printing paper that carried the ad.

The Model Code of Conduct — a set of guidelines to regulate political parties and candidates' behaviour to ensure fair polls — kicks in right after the poll dates are announced. The dates for electing the 17th Lok Sabha and a few Assemblies were announced on 10 March, 2019. The results of the seven-phase elections will be declared on 23 May.

The Model Code of Conduct specifically prohibits the party in power from monopolising public resources ahead of the election. Since 2013, the party in seat during an election is also required to stick to guidelines that prohibit it from making promises, or implementing schemes, that exert undue influence on voters.

Click here for the latest updates on Model Code of Conduct violations 

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