Quraishi defends cover-up directive to BSP



New Delhi: The Election Commission on Monday said that the range of comments on its direction to cover statues of Mayawati and elephant are not based on substance and are misleading and suggest "a lack of understanding of facts".

The Commission, in a statement issued here, said its order for draping the statues of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati and elephant constructed in public places at government expenses has been issued to ensure that a level-playing field is provided to all political parties and candidates during elections, as per the model code of conduct.

The Commission states, "there are standing instructions of the Commission that images and photographs of the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers, Ministers and other political functionaries who are active in public life should not be displayed in government buildings and premises as that would have the effect of disturbing the level playing field vis-a vis the functionaries of other political parties and candidates."

The Commission has clarified in 2009 that these instructions do not apply to the images of national leaders, poets and prominent historical figures of the past.

It stated that statues of elephant which is the reserved election symbol of Bahujan Samaj Party and statues of Mayawati who is the president of the party, constructed in public places at government expenses, get covered in the EC instructions.

"Their continued display at public places during the election period would be violative of the spirit of the Model Code and would be against the principles of level playing field for all parties and candidates. The Commission has taken similar steps in the past also," the Commission stated.

It added that the issue of statues was the subject matter of some complaints before the Commission in 2009, and in its order of October 11, 2010, it had made it clear that at the time of elections appropriate steps would be taken to see that the statues do not disturb the level-playing field.

PTI