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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: 'Stop Using Photos Of Army Personnel’s In Election Campaigns,' EC Warns Political Parties

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| March 10 , 2019 , 11:58 IST

Political parties and candidates cannot use photographs of any defense personnel or functions of the defense forces in their poll advertisements for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission said on Saturday, reiterating its instructions issued in 2013 against such propaganda.

“The ministry of defense has brought to the notice of the Election Commission (EC) that photographs of the defense personnel are being used by political parties, their leaders and candidates in advertisements as part of their election propaganda,” the EC said in a statement.

The EC wrote to presidents, chairpersons and general secretaries of all recognized parties Saturday drawing their attention to an old circular dated December 4, 2013. “It is pertinent to mention here that the Armed Forces of a nation are the guardian of its frontiers, security and the political system."

"They are apolitical and neutral stakeholders in this modern democracy. It is, therefore, necessary that the political parties and leaders exercise great caution while making any reference to the Armed Forces in their political campaign,” stated the EC directive.

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EC also stated, “The Commission is of the view that photographs of Chief of Army Staff or any other Defence personnel and photographs of functions of Defence."

"Forces should not be associated with or used in any manner in advertisement /propaganda/campaigning or in any other manner in connection with elections by political parties and candidates,” the instructions state, asking for “strict compliance” EC added.

Swaraj India national president Yogendra Yadav Saturday tweeted images of posters put up by local BJP leaders in which Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s photograph was used. In his tweet, he asked if using photographs of a serving soldier in a political poster is permitted by the poll panel.

To this, the EC spokesperson responded that the Commission has already issued instructions to this regard and once the Model Code of Conduct comes into force the EC will act against violations.