EC orders removal of leaves' pic on TN buses

A day after ordering the removal of movie banners of Jayalalitha-MGR at various districts, the Election Commission cracked the whip again on the ruling AIADMK by asking it to mask the pictures of leaves, resembling the symbol of the party, on small buses plying in Tamil Nadu.

This has been conveyed in a letter to the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Praveen Kumar and a copy which was submitted in the Madras High Court on Friday during the hearing of a petition by the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) before Justice T Raja.

DMK leader and former deputy chief minister M K Stalin recently moved the Madras High Court against the Tamil Nadu government to direct the Election Commission to erase the painting resembling the AIADMK symbol from the recently introduced small buses and to remove the photograph of AIADMK chief Jayalalitha on mineral water bottles sold by the exchequer.

On March 10, the counsel for the EC had submitted in the court that photographs of Jayalalitha had been concealed on the water bottles and government properties and sought two days time to take a decision on the MGR memorial.

During the hearing, senior counsel G Rajagopal, appearing for the EC, submitted the copy of the letter sent to the state CEO. The EC held that since the MGR memorial entrance was constructed in 2012 before the coming into force of Model Code of Conduct, there was no need to interfere with it.

The EC also said the usage of word “Amma” as part of the name of a scheme and not accompanied by any picture of a politician need not be objected to on government premises/property.   

As the EC had clarified its position on the objections, there was no need for passing any orders by the court, he said. At this stage, senior counsel for petitioner R Viduthalai objected to the conclusion of EC with regard to MGR memorial and said public money was used for the purpose of propagating the symbol of ruling party on the government properties.

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