There seems to be a lack of clarity among officials responsible for enforcing the model code of conduct with respect to covering statues of political leaders in public places, consequent to the announcement of the Lok Sabha election.
While in some districts, officials had ordered the covering of statues of even departed political leaders, others have not done so in their districts.
Statues of former Chief Ministers C.N.Annadurai, M.G.Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa were promptly covered by the authorities in some places, but elsewhere these statues still remain in public view as is the case near Thanjavur railway junction.
When the issue was brought to the notice of District Election Officer and Thanjavur Collector A. Annadurai, he said the rule did not apply to statues of departed political party leaders irrespective of whether erected with public funds or not.
It all began in 2012 when the Election Commission of India directed that the statues of political party leaders, who were active in politics, and erected with public money in Uttar Pradesh be covered until the elections to the Legislative Assembly was over, leading to a furore.
Subsequently, the Commission made it clear that the direction only applied to statues of political party leaders who were still active in politics. In the clarification dated January 18, 2012, the Commission had said that the statues of political party leaders raised with private funds did not come under its purview. It also affirmed that covering statues of leaders active in politics was in conformity with the practice of removing photographs and portraits of active political leaders at all public places, put up at the cost of the public exchequer, during the election period so that there was no undue advantage or disadvantage to any party and or candidate.