After Pulwama attack, EC asks political parties to avoid using defence forces for poll propaganda


NEW DELHI, March 20, 2019: The Election Commission on Tuesday asked political parties to "desist" during their Lok Sabha poll campaigns from indulging in any propaganda involving actions taken by defence forces.

The fresh advisory came days after the poll panel asked parties and their candidates against using pictures of defence force personnel in their campaign material.

"…parties/candidates are advised that their campaigners/candidates should desist, as part of their election campaigning, from indulging in any political propaganda involving activities of defence forces," the advisory issued on Tuesday said.

The commission said the new advisory is in continuation to its earlier one on use of pictures of defence personnel in campaigning.

The latest advisory of the EC comes against the backdrop of complaints against parties for using the armed forces for political gains, especially in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack and the February 26 air strike by the Indian Air Force (IAF) deep inside Pakistan.

The poll panel had on March 9 asked political parties to "desist from displaying photographs of defence personnel".

The EC's direction came after a picture showing a hoarding with images of IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman and leaders of a party.

In a separate case, the commission had also issued a show-cause notice to Delhi BJP MLA Om Prakash Sharma for putting up two posters featuring him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and IAF pilot Abhinandan Varthaman on Facebook.

The poll body had also asked him to take down the post.

The Lok Sabha election is scheduled to begin on April 11 and will continue till May 19.

Referring to attempts at politicising armed forces, former navy chief Admiral L Ramdas (retd) had written to the EC recently urging it to intervene.