The Maharashtra Congress on Monday demanded that the Election Commission (EC) should immediately remove all the hoardings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from petrol pumps as the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) has been enforced in the state, which will go to the polls on October 21.
"After the MCC was implemented last Saturday, the EC has promptly removed all hoardings and advertisements of various political parties, including those of the Opposition.
"However, hoardings and advertisements bearing images of the Prime Minister and government ads are still untouched at various petrol pumps in the state," said Congress General Secretary and spokesperson Sachin Sawant.
In a letter to the EC, Mr Sawant said that while no political party has objected to the removal of their publicity materials, the EC is also expected to eject the huge hoardings with PM Modi's pictures which are installed in most petrol stations in the state.
"It is surprising that the EC and the state administration are reluctant to implement the MCC when the rule applies uniformly to all the parties. As per the MCC, the EC and the government must immediately take out all such material displaying pictures of the ruling and opposition politicians, but the PM's ads are still visible," Mr Sawant pointed out.
Besides petrol pumps, he said that departments like the Maharashtra State Transport Corporation, buses and bus stations, railways and vehicles of various municipal transport bodies also display official government ads and photos of politicians.
Since the rules are common for all, he called upon the Chief Electoral Officer of Maharashtra to instruct the concerned officials and get all such publicity materials removed forthwith.
In Mumbai and other cities, such publicity hoardings which could give an undue advantage to the ruling and opposition parties or their candidates, are either being removed or have already been knocked off, and on permanent hoardings, white or black paint has been applied to cover the names or photographs or party symbols.
The MCC was implemented in the state last Saturday for the Assembly elections in Maharashtra scheduled for October 21. The results will be declared on October 24.
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