Quraishi defends cover-up directive to BSP

New Delhi, Jan 9: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) S.Y. Quraishi Monday brushed aside criticism of the directive to cover statues of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati and the party symbol of elephant in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh and said the decision was in accordance with the model code of conduct.

Quraishi told a news channel that opposition parties had made a demand for covering the statues over ‘a party leader and symbol being projected at public expense’ at a public place.

He said the commission was not concerned with speculation that ‘somebody benefits or somebody is disadvantaged’ with its decision.

‘Actually, it was demanded by opposition parties… It is according to the model code which we always implement. We have always done it,’ Quraishi told NDTV.

He said the poll panel had asked for covering pictures of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee displayed on the golden quadrilateral across the country in 2004 Lok Sabha polls.

‘It was a different commission at that time and all those hoardings were removed and pictures covered. This is something we always do,’ he said.

Quraishi said the model code of conduct was evolved by political parties themselves.

‘It is a code they have given to themselves and we are only enforcing it.’

The poll panel’s order has been criticised by the BSP.