The Election Commission on Saturday directed political parties to desist from displaying photographs of defence personnel in advertisements or otherwise as part of their election propaganda or campaigning.
The direction came after a complaint by the ministry of defence.
In a press statement the EC said that the ministry of defence had brought to its notice that photographs of defence personnel were being used by political parties, their leaders and candidates in advertisements as part of their election propaganda and requested the Commission to issue suitable instructions in this regard.
“It is pertinent to mention that the armed forces of a nation are the guardians of its frontiers, security and the political system. They are apolitical and neutral stakeholders in a modern democracy. It is therefore necessary that political parties and leaders exercise great caution while making any reference to the armed forces in their political campaigns. 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 Commission calls upon all political parties to advise their candidates/leaders to desist from displaying photographs of defence personnel or photographs of functions involving defence personnel in advertisements or otherwise as part of their election propaganda/campaigning.
India’s former Navy chief Admiral L Ramdas had also written to the Election Commission expressing “concern” and “dismay” over what he sees as the misuse of the air strike in Pakistan to “influence the electorate”.