The Indian Railways found itself caught on the wrong side of the model code of conduct yet again when passengers on Friday, 29 March, reported that tea was being served in paper cups with "main bhi chowkidaar" ('I'm also a watchman') written on them.
As the image of the paper cup tweeted by a passenger on Kathgodam Shatabdi went viral, the Railways said it has withdrawn the cup and penalised the contractor.
Tea being sold in 'Main Bhi Chowkidar' (I am also a watchman) paper cups in Indian Railways. This photo is from Shatabdi Express.— Uzair Hasan Rizvi (@RizviUzair) March 29, 2019
Does this violate model code of conduct? @SpokespersonECI pic.twitter.com/WQF3RiXzke
"It happened today but immediately glasses were withdrawn. Penal action is being taken against the contractor. Action is also being taken against the supervisor," the Railway Ministry was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
It has been claimed that tea was served in these cups twice. The advertisement on the cup was by Sankalp Foundation, an NGO.
This issue comes just days after the Railways was found in violation of the poll code for issuing tickets with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pictures on them. Later, the Railways said that it was an "unintentional and inadvertent mistake".
"Reports that tea has been served in cups labelled as 'main bhi chowkidar' have been investigated. This was without any prior approval of IRCTC. A fine of Rs 1 lakh has been imposed on the service provider. A showcause notice has also been served to the service provider for this misconduct," an IRCTC spokesperson told PTI.
The Election Commission, meanwhile, is learnt to have issued a fresh showcause notice to the Railways.
EC sources said Railways have been asked to explain the prima facie violation of the model code of conduct by Saturday evening.
The EC is learnt to have invoked the 'party in power' clause of the poll code in the case as it could be averred that party in power' is using government transporter for election publicity.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI)
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