The Election Commission of India has issued an advisory to all political parties on Saturday to stop using photographs of Defence personnel as part of election campaigning.
The letter says that the ECI's attention has been brought to the issue of certain political parties using photographs of Defence personnel in their advertisements for the political campaigns. In the advisory, it refers to its own letter from December 4, 2013 which was addressed to all national and state political parties.
The letter says that since Armed Forces apolitical and neutral stakeholders in the democracy and hence it is of the opinion that the photographs of Defence personnel "should not be used in any manner in during advertisement/propaganda/campaigning in any manner during elections."
READ THE ECI"S ADVISORY BELOW:
On Friday, former Navy chief Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas appealed to the Election Committee to prevent the "misuse" of Indian Armed Force for electoral gains by politicising them.
In a letter, he shared his "concerns" over the recent instances of using Armed Forces for political benefits, especially in the aftermath of both Pulwama terror attack and the IAF strikes in Pakistan's Balakot and the shooting down, capture and repatriation of an Indian Air Force pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan.
He said, "I am sure that you are well aware that the Armed Forces have always prided themselves on belonging to a structure, an ethos and environment which has been both a-political and secular.
"With elections due a few weeks from now, it is particularly important that there should not be any misuse of these recent events by any political party to send triumphalist or jingoistic messages which can influence the electorate," he added.
The former Navy chief went on to say that he shares a "deep concern" as to how political parties are "brazenly pushing their agenda" by using uniforms and photographs of armed forces with political figures, in media, rallies and public spaces. He shared his concerns of how this has a "potential to destroy" the foundation and value system of Armed forces scripted by the Indian Constitution.
Through his letter he urged the Election Commission to instantly intervene, sending a stringent message to political parties from misusing Armed Forces for electoral benefits.