The Kerala government advertisements publicized through the KSRTC buses have been removed after an ultimatum was received from the chief electoral officer. The advertisements featuring Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's photograph were displayed on a number of KSRTC buses.
The chief electoral officer had issued an order to remove these advertisements by 2pm on Saturday. The advertisements, under the tag ‘We are one, we are number one’ conceived on the occasion of the government completing 1,000 days in office were put up on 5,000 KSRTC buses at a cost of Rs 1 crore.
Now that the election is declared, the government is forced to withdraw the advertisement within weeks of putting them up on the buses.
Initially, there was no move from the government to withdraw the advertisement despite the chief electoral officer's order. As a part of the campaign on the occasion of the government completing 1,000 days in office, advertisements were posted on all buses ranging from ‘local ordinary’ to ‘superfast’. ‘The promises have been fulfilled, now the task is constructing a new Kerala,’ said the campaign and the major achievements of each government department were showcased. The order for putting up the campaign was issued on 12th February and the KSRTC got the copy of the order 16th February.
The advertisement was posted on ‘local’ buses for a cost of Rs 2,000 apiece and on ‘superfast’ buses for a cost of Rs 2,700 per bus. From 20th February, the posters started appearing on the buses. An order was issued to give a feedback to the zone executive directors’ offices on the number of posters put up by 2nd March. By the first week of March, all the posters were in place.
When the election date was declared on 10th March, the code of conduct became effective. Tikka Ram Meena, the state election commissioner, decreed that the posters should be withdrawn. The chief electoral officer had issued orders to the district collectors to take stern action if the instructions were not complied with.