Taking note of photographs of defence personnel being used in political rallies, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday issued an advisory asking political parties to stop the use of photos of security personnel in their campaign material.
"The Commission accordingly calls upon all the political parties to advise their candidate/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," the poll panel said in the advisory.
EC issues advisory to all national&state political parties of the country,asks them 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' pic.twitter.com/jBFsSyZEZM— ANI (@ANI) March 9, 2019
The Election Commission said the matter was brought to its notice by Ministry of Defence. "Defence Ministry has brought to the notice of the Commission that photographs of the 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 advisory reads. It also urged all the political parties to ensure strict compliance.
The development comes after photos of hoardings with images of Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman along with leaders of a political party went viral on the social media.
In a fresh instruction issued to all 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 functions involving defence personnel in advertisements".
In 2013, the Defence Ministry had informed the EC about photographs of defence personnel being used by leaders and candidates and had urged the poll panel to issue suitable instructions in this regard.
An Indian Air Force MiG-21 Bison, piloted by Wing Commander Varthaman, had shot down a Pakistan Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft on February 27. However, his plane was also shot down and he was arrested in Pakistan. The pilot returned home after his nearly three-day captivity in Pakistan on March 1.