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After Multiple BJP Ads and Posters Featuring Armed Forces, EC Slams ‘All Parties’

It doesn't take much to notice that "all parties" are not using Wing Commander Abhinandan's face on posters and banners.

The Election Commission on March 9, directed all political parties to desist from displaying photographs of defence personnel in advertisements or otherwise as part of their election propaganda or campaigning. The direction came after a complaint by the ministry of defence. India’s former Navy chief Admiral L Ramdas had also written to the Election Commission expressing concern over the misuse of the Balakot airstrike to campaign for upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The EC said, “It is pertinent to mention that the armed forces of a nation are the guardians 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 is of the view that photographs of the 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 advertisement/propaganda/campaigning or in any other manner in connection with elections by political parties and candidates.”

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The EC added, “The Commission calls upon all political parties to advise their candidates/leaders to desist from displaying photographs of defence personnel or photographs of functions involving defence personnel in advertisements or otherwise as part of their election propaganda/campaigning.”

While the EC’s directive is a welcome one, what is concerning is the fact that the EC did not take note that only one national party is engaging in this activity in a major way — the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav took to Twitter to make a list of all the BJP posters, banners and ads that featured either the armed forces or even Wing Commander Abhinandan (who was captured by Pakistani troops before he was released back to India).

Others, too, and tweeted about BJP and Narendra Modi hoardings and posters across the country that featured the armed forces.

But of course, “all” political parties must desist from displaying photographs of defence personnel.

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