New Delhi: Against the backdrop of a complaint by the Trinamool Congress that the picture of the prime minister on COVID-19 vaccination certificates violates the model code, the Election Commission has asked the health ministry to follow the provisions of the poll code in letter and spirit.

In a letter to the health ministry, the poll panel is learnt to have referred to certain provisions of the model code which bar the use of advertisement at the cost of the public exchequer.

Sources aware of the correspondence between the Election Commission and the ministry said the panel has not referred to any individual or personalities but has asked the health ministry to follow the provisions of the model code in letter and spirit.

A source said the health ministry may have to use filters so that the picture of the prime minister is not printed on certificates given to those who take the COVID-19 vaccine in poll-bound West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry.

It may take time to put in place the filters in the system.

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The TMC had on Tuesday approached the poll panel about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image on vaccination certificates generated through the Co-Win platform being a violation of the model code of conduct in Bengal and other poll-bound states.

It had termed the picture a “misuse of official machinery by the PM”.

Clause seven of the model code states that “issue of advertisement at the cost of public exchequer… regarding achievements with a view to furthering the prospects of the party in power shall be scrupulously avoided”.

The model code had come into force in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry on February 26, the day the EC announced polls in these five states.

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