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Stop using photos of armed forces in election campaigning, EC tells political parties

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New Delhi:Political parties and candidates cannot use photographs of any defence personnel or functions of the defence 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 defence has brought to the notice of the Election Commission (EC) that photographs of the defence 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.

Recalling its instructions issued on December 4, 2013, which restrained the parties from making any reference to the armed forces in their advertisements, propaganda and campaigning, it said, “The 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.”

Aam Aadmi Party made a direct reference to IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman in a recent rally.

Calling the armed forces “guardians” of a country’s “frontiers, security and political system”, the Election Commission warned the parties against making reference to them in their poll campaigns. “Armed forces are apolitical and neutral stakeholders in a 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 campaigns,” the EC said.

Source: News 18

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