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Exercise restraint during campaigns: Election Commission

Exercise restraint during campaigns: Election Commission

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  12 March 2019 6:46 AM GMT

Special Correspondent

Silchar: With announcement of dates for the Lok Sabha elections 2019 in seven phases across the states and union territories of the country and the model code of conduct coming into effect immediately, Election Commission of India in has issued general advisory to all political parties and asked them to exercise great caution while making any reference to the armed forces in their political campaign. The advisory comes in the wake of the complaint that political parties, their leaders and candidates are using photographs of the defence personnel in advertisements as pat of their election propaganda.

The attention of the president, chairperson and general secretary of all recognized political parties has been drawn to the ECI's letter dated December 4, 2013 in which such general advisory was circulated among them. The Ministry of Defence has in fact brought the matter to the notice of the ECI. It was in apprehension that political parties for their political mileage might use photographs of the defence personnel. In fact, during the on going poll campaign, some political parties have put up the photographs of 41 BSF martyrs on the dais which evoked civic and political controversy and debate. Both print and electronic media has been seized of the matter.

The ECI's missive makes it clear that the armed forces of a nation are the guardian of its frontiers, security and political system. They are apolitical and neutral stakeholders in a modern democracy. 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 connection with election by political parties and their candidates. The Election Commission therefore calls upon all the political parties to advise their leaders and candidates to desist from displaying photographs of functions involving defence personnel in advertisements or otherwise as part of their election propaganda or campaign. Political parties are further advised to ensure strict compliance of the instruction by their leaders, candidates and cadres.

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