President’s Photos Reported On Congress Hoardings, His Office Steps In

New Delhi: Taking strong exception to President Pranab Mukherjee’s photographs appearing in some Congress hoardings in poll-bound Punjab, Rashtrapati Bhavan wrote to the Election Commission to ensure that neutrality of his office “is not breached in any manner”.

In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, the President’s Secretary Omita Paul referred to reports in some newspapers which claimed that Mr Mukherjee’s pictures were displayed on Congress posters and these were under the Election Commission’s scanner.

“The news items also reported that the photo of the President in hoardings along with other leaders of a political party is being looked into by the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner and the District Election Officer for any possible violation of any law,” Ms Paul wrote.

She underlined that the President is above party-politics and neither his image nor anything related to him, in his capacity as the President, can or should be used for any political purposes.

“All political parties should desist from ever linking the President to any political party in any manner for political goals,” she said.

“It is requested that necessary steps may be taken to ensure this neutrality of the Office of the President of India is not breached in any manner,” Ms Paul added.

Prior to his election as President in 2012, Mr Mukherjee was a seasoned Congress leader who had managed numerous high-profile portfolios including finance, defence and external affairs, under Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi, P V Narasimha Rao and Dr Manmohan Singh.