Election Commission warns political parties not to use armed forces for campaign
New Delhi: The Election Commission, on Sunday, while announcing the dates for the general election, said images of defence personnel/armed forces cannot be used to promote political parties during campaign.
With the announcement of the Lok Sabha poll dates, the model code of conduct – a set of dos and don’ts for political parties to ensure free and fair elections, has come into effect. Although the ban on use of defence personnel for campaigns is not part of the model code, it was mentioned by the commission in a letter.
The Election Commission, in its notice, drew the parties’ attention to a letter from 2013, which gave reasons for not using the armed forces in poll campaigns. It said: “It is pertinent to mention here that the armed forces of a nation are the guardian of its frontiers, security and the political system. They are apolitical and neutral stakeholders in a modern democracy. It is therefore necessary that political parties and leaders exercise great caution while making any reference to the armed forces in their political campaigns.”
The commission’s move came after the political leaders sought votes by brazenly piggybacking on the Army and Air Force in the backdrop of the air strikes on the Jaish-e Muhammed terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot.
Welcoming Election Commission’s move, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said, “Earning brownie points through politicization of forces is as wrong as using photographs of defence personnel to take political mileage.”
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