Poll panel order raises storm

March 31st, 2009 - 10:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, March 31 (IANS) An Election Commission directive that government buildings cannot have pictures of any minister or political functionaries other than Mahatma Gandhi, president and state governors has kicked up a storm in West Bengal.
Dismayed over the ruling, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee Tuesday said he would seek a clarification from the poll panel on the issue.

“We will not remove the pictures of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Rabindranath Tagore from the walls of the Writers Buildings (the state secretariat),” Bhattacharjee said.

He said he has given instructions to the chief secretary to seek clarification from the Election Commission in this regard.

In a directive to the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Debashis Sen, the poll panel has said: “…No calendar, picture, etc having photographs of the prime minister and chief minister, ministers and other political functionaries should be displayed anywhere in any of the government or public buildings.

“Only the pictures of Mahatma Gandhi, the incumbent President of India and the incumbent Governor of the state concerned may continue to be displayed. You are therefore requested to ensure that such calendars and pictures should be removed from the government or public buildings.”

Asked whether the pictures of freedom fighters like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose have to be removed from the walls of the government buildings, Sen said: “I have no comments to make.”

In another directive, the poll panel has instructed the state CEO that the dignitaries enjoying Z plus category security cover in the state can travel in bulletproof car but the “cost of propulsion (fuel) for personal usage of the cars should be borne by the person himself or the political party he belongs to,” Sen said.

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