Chennai: DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Thursday said the Supreme Court verdict on banning photos of Chief Ministers in government advertisements amounts 'to snatching away the rights of states' as the constitution gives 'equal status' to Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers.
"The Supreme Court judgement that government advertisements should carry photos of President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India and not state Chief Ministers amounts to snatching away the rights of states. According to the Constitution of India, in a federal set-up, Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers have equal status," he said.
Karunanidhi said people in the respective states always gave importance to Chief Ministers.
"Both Prime Minister and a Chief Minister were selected by the majority party, that is, one that had won elections, even as the President had the support of a political party," he said.
Therefore, all the basic reasons that justified carrying photos of President and Prime Ministers applied for state Chief Ministers also, he said in a statement.
Former five-time Chief Minister, Karunanidhi said that with lesser number of educated people in the country, an advertisement with a picture would convey the message easier than many words.
It has been long accepted by people in Indian democracy that while the Prime Minister was 'symbolic' of the Central government, the Chief Minister was the equivalent of the state.
"Therefore, it is my opinion carrying photos of Chief Ministers in government advertisements is unavoidable," he said.
Decrying 'personality cult' as an anti-thesis of democracy, the Supreme Court had yesterday barred publication of photos of leaders in government advertisements except those of the President, Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India.
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