"I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks."
A directive has been issued to political parties and candidates telling them not to use photographs of any defence personnel in their election campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The election commission said in a statement that this was being done by political parties and candidates as part of their election propaganda.
The latest instruction is in line with what the election commission issued in 2013. Back in 2013, the commission had received a complaint from the Ministry of Defence that political parties are using photographs of defence personnel for election campaigns. The ECI had cautioned them against using any reference to the armed forces during their campaigns, as defense personnel are neutral and apolitical stakeholders.
“The commission is of the view that the photographs of the chief of the army staff or any other defence personnel 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 or candidates,” the ECI had said in the advisory.
This directive comes in the backdrop of political parties using pictures of Wing Commander Abhinandan for poll campaign.
Wing commander Abhinandan was captured by Pakistan Air Force after he ejected from his MiG- 21 while giving a chase to Pakistan’s F-16. The entire country celebrated Abhinandan’s courage and composure while he was in enemy captivity.
What is nonsense? As shared by @danvir_chauhan sir.
Till what extent you will drag the #ArmedForces for political agenda?
Admiral Ramdas is correct in his request to election commission to put a stop to misuse of Indian Armed forces and its acts.
— Major D P Singh (@MajDPSingh) March 9, 2019
Since then, the achievement of the forces is being used by political parties as part of their election propaganda. The instructions came after it was brought to the commission’s notice that photographs of Abhinandan along with other BJP leaders were being circulated on social media. Several Twitter users also slammed the BJP for the act.
Is BJP allowed to use Abhinandan in its posters? This is Delhi, not some far-flung corner of India.
I covered BJP election rallies in Haryana after Kargil when a serving soldier gave speeches. Slippery slope to politics & military. Enough examples in South Asia to be wary of. pic.twitter.com/DVqz18zA7e
— rama lakshmi (@RamaNewDelhi) March 9, 2019
Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav criticised the BJP for dragging the forces into politics for electoral gains.
“BJP can do anything. BJP is known for spreading hate. Sons of poor and farmers are guarding the borders and the BJP leaders are just trying to get votes. BJP can go to any level for votes. They have not even spared cows and Ganga,” Akhilesh Yadav said.
Further, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel was also quoted saying that the BJP is taking a dangerous path by “using the military” to conceal its own “failures”. He also said that the commission’s circular was much needed.
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