The Railway on Wednesday, 20 March, decided to withdraw tickets carrying photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which was part of an advertisement campaign by a Union ministry.

The “suo motu” decision of the Railway not to use the tickets came a day after the Trinamool Congress approached the Election Commission, alleging that the use of such tickets was violative of the model code of conduct, which came into force on 10 March following the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections, sources in the Railway said.

They pointed out that nearly 1 lakh such tickets were printed and a few were remaining in the lot.

The Railway said all its 17 zones have been directed against using the tickets carrying the picture of the prime minister.

“It is a suo motu action. We have not received any direction from the EC in this regard,” an official said.

In a letter to the poll panel, the Trinamool Congress had said, “We are shocked to notice that even during the currency of the Model Code of Conduct, the railway tickets issued by the Indian Railways contain achievements of the party in power at the Centre (BJP) with regard to Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which is being displayed at the cost of public exchequer and obviously to influence minds of the voters.”

The photograph was part of an Urban Development Ministry advertisement campaign.

A portion of the back side of the ticket is often used for advertising.

The model code of conduct, besides other things, bars a party in power to use the official machinery to help it in elections.

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