Hyderabad: Days after Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s picture was spotted in a BJP political advertisement, the Election Commission issued a directive to political parties and candidates on Saturday against using the photographs of defence personnel in their advertisements for Lok Sabha elections.
The move came after several social media users pointed out about the BJP featuring defence personnel on its publicity material. A photograph of a hoarding displaying pictures of the IAF pilot as well as senior BJP leaders was circulated on social media and came to the EC’s notice.
It was not known where the hoarding had been installed.
There have been instances of political parties using pictures of martyrs and Army officers in their posters. In one instance, a Delhi BJP leader dressed up like a soldier.
In a fresh instruction issued to political parties, the EC referred to its December 2013 letter in which it had “called upon all political parties to advise their candidates and leaders to desist from displaying photographs of defence personnel or photographs of functions involving defence personnel in advertisements”.
The EC told presidents of political parties, “The ministry of defence has brought to the notice of the commission that photographs of defence personnel are being used by the political parties, their leaders and candidates in advertisements as part of their election propaganda and requested the commission to issue suitable instruction in this regard.”
The EC asked political parties not to use photographs of the Chief of the Army Staff or other defence personnel and even photographs of functions of defence forces in any manner in advertisements, propaganda, campaigning or in any other manner in connection with elections.
The ECI called upon political parties to advise their candidates and cadre to desist from displaying such material....