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Political parties cannot use photos of any defence personnel or any defence action for their political campaigning in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission said on Saturday (March 9).

“The ministry of defence has brought to the notice of the Election Commission (EC) that photographs of the defence personnel are being used by political parties, their leaders and candidates in advertisements as part of their election propaganda,” the EC said in a statement.

Recalling its instructions issued on December 4, 2013, which restrained the parties from making any reference to the armed forces in their advertisements, propaganda and campaigning, it said.

“The photographs of 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.”

Calling the armed forces “guardians of a country’s frontiers, security and political system”, the Election Commission warned the parties against making reference to them in their poll campaigns.

“Armed forces are apolitical and neutral stakeholders in a modern democracy. It is therefore necessary that the political parties and leaders exercise great caution while making any reference to the armed forces in their political campaigns,” the EC said.

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