New Delhi: The Election Commission has asked all political parties and their candidates to avoid displaying photographs of defence personnel on posters used during pre-poll campaigning and for propaganda purpose in connection with the impending elections.
The advisory from the EC comes after the Defence Ministry apprised the poll body of photographs of defence personnel being used by political parties in advertisements as part of their election propaganda.
Recently, posters surfaced in the national capital displaying pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and other BJP leaders, along with a picture of IAF Pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
“Modi hai toh mumkin hai..Namo Again 2019” read the text printed on the poster. (Everything is possible if Modi is PM).
The poll body also advised parties to “exercise great caution” while making any reference to the Armed Forces in their political campaigns.
Varthaman was detained by the Pakistan Army on February 27 when his MiG 21 Bison crossed over to the neighbouring country while chasing Pakistani F-16 jets that transgressed into the Indian airspace. He was released two days later as a “peace gesture.”
“It is pertinent to mention here that Armed Forces of the nation are the guardian of its frontiers, security and political system. They are apolitical and neutral stakeholders in 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 advisory read.
“The Commission is of 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,” it said.