Train tickets with photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi are still being sold in Uttar Pradesh in the middle of the Lok Sabha elections, even after the Indian Railways said it would withdraw them following allegations of poll code violation.
The tickets, which carry PM Modi’s photo and details of government schemes, remain in circulation, a traveler found out on Sunday.
A man who booked a ticket on Sunday in Barabanki, 30 km from state capital Lucknow, was issued a paper ticket with details of the PM Awaas (Rural) scheme printed on it, and a photograph of PM Modi along with more details of the scheme on the back.
Mohammed Shabbar Rizvi told NDTV he went to the railway station to book a ticket from Barabanki to Varanasi on the Ganga Satluj Express. “When I saw the ticket I realised it had the PM’s photo on it.
I am aware that a model code of conduct is in place and this is not right. I tried to complain to the supervisor but I was rebuked and asked to leave. As a last resort I called up some people in the media,” Mr Rizvi said.
He claimed others who were issued the same tickets protested too. A supervisor at the booking office told the media that a paper roll with PM Modi’s photo was inserted into the printing machine “by mistake”.
Earlier, the railways had announced it would withdraw the tickets after a Trinamool delegation approached the Election Commission of India accusing the BJP of violating the poll code.
The TMC delegation comprising Derek O’Brien, Sukhendu Sekhar Ray and Chandan Mitra told the election body that PM Modi’s photo was being published on railway tickets as part of a government scheme, which, the party said, was in violation of the code.
Days after that, social media users reported that tea was being served on a Shatabdi train in paper cups with PM Modi’s campaign line, “Main Bhi Chowkidar (I’m also watchman)”, printed on them.
After a photo of tea served in a “Main Bhi Chowkidar” cup went viral on social media, the railways said it had withdrawn the glasses and penalised the contractor. The railways fined the contractor Rs. 1 lakh, according to a statement.
Multiple tweets said the cups were used on the Kathgodam Shatabdi Express and tagged the Election Commission, saying it is a violation of the Election Code of Conduct.