Lucknow: It could be a jumbo jerk for the Uttar Pradesh government as the Election Commission on Saturday said statues of Chief Minister Mayawati and elephants, BSP's poll symbol, installed at a number of places in Uttar Pradesh would be covered during the state assembly election.

"The Commission has decided that statues of the CM and elephants will be draped," Chief Election Commissioner S Y Qureshi told reporters here.

"The idea is that no one should get political mileage. During elections even photos of leaders put up in offices are removed," the CEC said.

The issue was raised by various political parties at the meetings with a team of the EC during its two-day visit to the state.

This would be implemented at the earliest as the matter was related to the model code of conduct, he said.

Regarding opposition parties' demand for removal of some officers, Qureshi said the Commission would take a view after a thorough examination in Delhi.

"There was a complaint that the election machinery should be neutral," he said adding directives had already been issued to remove officials posted at one place for more than three years.

Qureshi said during the meetings political parties raised several issues like politicisation of officers.

There was anxiety and worry among political parties on matters relating to black money, movement of cash and liquor, he said.

Political parties voiced concern over use of religious places for hate speeches, the CEC said.

"They also demanded that instead of the state police, central forces should be used," he said.

The parties were assured that their neutral conduct would be ensured, the CEC said.

He said during their visit, reviews with division-level officers were also held and they were told to maintain strict neutrality.
     
On unaccounted cash, the CEC said till today Rs 7.5 crore unaccounted money had been seized in the state.
   
He said the Income Tax department has been deeply involved in checking movement of cash at airport, hotels and through hawala operators.
   
"For tight watch, 102 expenditure observers and 403 assistant observers, all from IT and revenue services, are being deployed. Besies 403 general observers will also be deployed," Qureshi said.
   
The CEC said a close watch on production and sale of liquor would be kept.

(Agencies)