No need to remove images of national leaders: poll panel (Lead)

April 1st, 2009 - 11:46 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) The Election Commission Wednesday clarified that it has not issued any instruction to remove from government offices photographs and images of national leaders, prominent historical personalities of the past, the president and the governors ahead of polls.
“The EC (Election Commission) wishes to clarify the misunderstanding about the instruction on March 28 about the display of photographs and images in the government offices,” Deputy Election Commissioner R. Balakrishnan told reporters here.

Media reports quoting West Bengal Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakraborty Tuesday said the Election Commission order meant that even the portrait of Rabindranath Tagore had to be removed.

“The instruction is applicable in the case to displaying the photographs of the prime minister, the chief ministers, ministers and other political functionaries,” the poll panel clarified in a statement.

The poll panel said extensive use of videography and digital photography will be made in the entire electioneering process to get the polls more transparent.

“The videography will be used right from the filing of nomination. The extensive use of videography is to get the elections more transparent,” Balakrishnan said.

Election observers have been instructed to watch the “nomination videos” and it would help them to get the “body language” of the local administration to deliver the elections, he said.

“Rallies of star campaigners and prominent leaders will be videographed. All political and administrative events will also be videographed,” he said.

The Election Commission said the defacement of public property is strictly prohibited.

Referring to the specific guidelines issued by the Election Commission Oct 7, 2008, Balakrishnan said no wall writing or erecting banners and billboards in any government building or property was not permitted.

He, however, said private property could be used for the purpose with a written consent of the owner of the property.

Balakrishnan said the full Election Commission would consider the two complaints against Home Minister P. Chidambaram.

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