Political publicity and face value has been in the trend these days. Peter Parker once said, “Everywhere I go, I see his face”. Reference notwithstanding, the words are pretty relatable in the current scenario. One visits a petrol pump for refuelling and the price hikes get to one’s nerves, one knows who to blame. Well, he’s right there, somewhere, attached to a hoarding, smiling from a distance, watching your misery.
The Madras High court has stood up to the affair just in Tamil Nadu state. But, it is high time politicians value the public’s hard-earned money. The taxes paid by the common man should be used wisely, not for publicity or propaganda purposes.
The Madras High Court on Tuesday asked the Tamil Nadu government to ensure that the practice of printing photographs of chief ministers or other public functionaries on school bags, textbooks, and stationery is put to an end.
A division bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesvalu expressed their disapproval of the practice. The court termed it “disgusting” and misuse of public funds. The Court observed, “It is abhorrent that photographs of public functionaries should be placed on school books or school bags for school going children who do not have the right to vote, even if the functionary is the Chief Minister of the State. Public funds cannot be misused to print photographs. Nor can this be done for the personal interest of any politician. The state should ensure that such practice is not continued in future.”
Advocate R Shunmugasundaram, appearing for the state, informed the court that Chief Minister MK Stalin has issued a statement in the assembly that the government will ensure that school bags, textbooks, and stationery containing such photographs are used till that they do not expire. Apart from recording this statement, the Court also took on record the statement of the council that the present Chief Minister has decided not to use his photographs for publication in such material in future.
The court further said, “Hereafter, no further order is required to be passed except to direct the State. It should be ensured, and utmost care should be taken, that public money is not spent for propaganda purposes of political leaders, including hoardings and other material. Also, CM’s photograph should be confined to advertisements in newspapers and some hoardings and certainly should not be used on textbooks or any educational material.” With these observations, the court concluded the hearing of the petition.
Former Bihar chief minister, Jitan Ram Manjhi tweeted back in May 2021, “If you are so fond of putting a photograph on the vaccine certificate, then the photo should be put on the death certificate too. Only this will be fair.” Although he shortly deleted the tweet, it was already noticed.
You get your vaccination done and receive a certificate, and you get a bonus cheerful guy asking credit for your vaccination.
This image culture topped the limits recently when the Olympians came back with glory and found their images as a grace beneath the larger than life pictures of politicians.
One was almost tempted to ask what our distinguished ministers had done to ensure that the sporting laurels came home. If anything, the same athletes had to struggle and were allocated a lesser budget than the usual for the Olympic committee this year. The players earn stature with the efforts and hard work they commit to, and nobody should have the audacity to claim credits in their name.
There are endless examples of this shoddy, and shameful behaviour. Far too many to be listed and pointed out in this humble piece. The point is, no face should ever appear where they are not required, needed, or deserved. And the least we can expect our chosen ones is to stop presenting themselves repeatedly and start representing the public for a change.