January 29, 2021 11:13:00 pm
Ahead of the local and civic body polls in the state to be held on February 28, a photograph of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Cowin application that is being used to streamline the Covid-19 vaccination drive as well as on the provisional certificate issued to the beneficiaries of the first dose of Covishield vaccine, has been seen as a “violation” of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
On Friday, based on a complaint filed by the Vadodara unit of the Congress party, district election officers examined the contention that the presence of PM’s photograph along with the message — Together, India will defeat Covid-19, on the application and certificates was a “tacit campaign of a party ahead of the civic body polls”. The district election officer has now raised the issue with the district health department.
Vadodara Congress unit chief Prashant Patel filed a written complaint with the election office, terming the photograph on the Cowin app as well as provisional certificates issued to beneficiaries as “violation of Model Code of Conduct” and demanded that the same be withdrawn immediately.
Patel said, “We noticed that even during the Covid-19 vaccination drive on Friday, the beneficiaries were given provisional certificates with the photograph and message of Narendra Modi… This is a direct campaign of the BJP, which is using Modi as its campaign face… We have asked the election office to issue strict orders to withdraw the reference to any political leader from the application and the certificates.”
The issue was also raised in the all-party meeting with the election department late in the evening where health officials expressed helplessness. A health official said, “The State Election Commission should take it up with the government. The application and format of the Covishield provisional certificate is centrally designed and not at local level… There is nothing much we can do.”
Additional District Collector DR Patel, who is also the Returning Officer for the VMC polls, said, “The complaint of the Congress party has substance and will apply to the entire state… We are writing to the district and civic body health departments, notifying that they cannot use the current form of the certificate and the application. They would be advised to take it up with the state health department that can communicate with the state government and thereafter the central government to revise or withdraw the content. We will also bring this to the notice of the State Election Commission.”
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