The Election Commission instructed the Chief Electoral Officers of all five poll-bound states to either cover or remove photographs of political leaders on hoardings, PTI reported. The poll panel said any hoarding or advertisement projecting the achievements of a political party or living political leader should be either covered or removed.

However, hoardings by the government conveying general message to the masses, such as family planning, can be allowed. “No political party or functionary can use public resources and incur or authorise expenditure from public exchequer to eulogise himself or itself or enhance his/its own or any political leader’s image,” the commission said.

The Congress on Monday wrote to the commission urging them to remove all hoardings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi across the five poll-bound states, arguing that these advertisements were not permissible while the Model Code of Conduct was in place.

Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur are scheduled to begin on February 4 and the counting of votes will be done on March 11. The poll panel had implemented the Model Code of Conduct in these five states on January 4, the day poll dates were announced. Goa, Punjab and Uttarakhand will have elections in a single phase on February 4, while in Manipur, voting will be held in two phases on March 4 and March 8. In Uttar Pradesh, polling will be held in seven phases between February 11 and March 8.