New Delhi: Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi on Monday dismissed criticism against its decision to drape the statues of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati and BSP symbol elephant on public property, calling it "ill-informed".
"I am surprised this (EC order) has been taken as
something unusual. There is a model code of conduct which says
there should be a level-playing field for all candidates and
"The Code says nobody will get an unfair advantage.
Government and public property will not be used for political
gain. If portraits have to be removed, it is because it is on
public property. Statues are big and they give advantage to
the concerned person. The criticism is ill-informed," he told
a TV channel.
The CEC said there is nothing per se wrong about statues
of political personalities and symbols erected out of their
"Only thing is that it is propaganda and public
place cannot be used for political propaganda," he said,
adding "we have no problem if it is done on private property
out of their own expenditure".
Asked about the "huge" cost involved in draping the
statues, Quraishi said "cost cannot be the consideration. The
principle has to be enforced. Model Code of Conduct does not
make a distinction on account of cost".
He said the cost of covering of statues with tarpaulin "is
not going to be a big deal".
On Saturday, the Commission directed the UP government to
drape the statues of Mayawati and Elephants erected in
government memorials in Lucknow and Noida.
Answering a question, Quraishi said, that it was not the
concern of the Election Commission whether its orders helped
somebody or went against another.
"That should not be our concern. If somebody is benefited
or disadvantaged, that is not our concern," he said.
The CEC said that the decision was taken after all
opposition parties had made a demand in this connection.
He recalled that even before the 2004 general elections,
the portraits of the then prime minister on the hoardings of
the Golden Quadrilateral project were covered.
Quraishi said in a quasi-judicial order the Commission had
last year decided that suitable action would be taken so that
no individual or political party could benefit from the
statues erected out of public money.
The order was passed on a case remitted to it by the