EC bars political parties from using defense-personnel photos


10 Mar 2019

Parties can't use photos of defense personnel, directs Election Commission

At a time when emotions related to defense forces are running high in the nation, the Election Commission on Saturday said political parties can't use photos of defense personnel for their poll campaign.

Of late, photos of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who returned from Pakistan safely, have been used by political parties to further their agenda.

Here are more details.


Looking at what the EC said

Looking at what the EC said

The EC sent a letter to presidents, national vice-presidents and other important members of recognized parties, underlining that the "Armed Forces of a nation are the guardian of its frontiers, security and the political system."

The letter added armed forces are neutral and hence, it's important that political parties and leader exercise caution while referring to them in their campaign.

"Can't use pictures of defense personnel"

"The Commission is of the view that photographs of Chief of Army Staff or any other Defense personnel and photographs of functions of Defense Forces should not be associated with or used in any manner in advertisement/propaganda/campaigning," the letter added.

Love Politics news?

Stay updated with the latest happenings.

Yes, notify me


EC passed a similar order in 2013

Incidentally, EC had issued a similar order on December 4, 2013. Reiterating the same, the EC asked parties to comply with the instructions "strictly".

However, a senior EC official told TOI, the body hasn't put restrictions on what leaders can say.

"There has never been and cannot be any restraint on a political leader or candidate referring to war or counter-terror action while addressing poll rallies," the official added.


BJP has invited criticism for "politicizing" airstrikes

BJP has invited criticism for "politicizing" airstrikes

The ruling BJP has invited ire from critics for "politicizing" the February 26 IAF strikes.

The IAF launched a pre-emptive operation in response to Pulwama attack of February 14, in which 40 CRPF soldiers were martyred.

Notably, the banner at Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally in Churu, Rajasthan, included pictures of Pulwama attack martyrs. The move was slammed by many.

Manoj Tiwari

Separately, Manoj Tiwari dressed in military uniform during a rally

Earlier, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari was also criticized after he wore the military uniform during a rally.

Tiwari, the chief of Delhi BJP, wore military fatigues for a bike rally and various opposition leader berated him.

Unaffected by criticism, Tiwari said he was just showing his solidarity towards the armed forces and wasn't "insulting them" as many opined.


Earlier, retired navy chief expressed concern over "politicization"

As army's action got a lot of attention in politics, former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral L Ramdas (retired), wrote to EC to complain about what he called a "misuse" of airstrikes to "influence the electorate".

"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," his letter read.

Share this timeline

Election Commission

Manoj Tiwari

Narendra Modi

Pulwama Attack

Abhinandan Varthaman

Admiral L Ramdas

Armed Forces

Army Staff

BJP MP Manoj Tiwari



Defense Forces

Delhi BJP


February 26 IAF


L Ramdas (


Prime Minister Narendra Modi


Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman

Share this timeline

Ask NewsBytes
User Image

Most asked questions

What happened in Balakot?

Why is BJP being slammed?

What did Manoj Tiwari do?

Has EC announced election dates?

More questions

What happened in Balakot?

Asked 2019-03-10 10:00:18 by Hemant Rathore

Answered by NewsBytes

IAF launched a pre-emptive operation against Jaish-e-Mohammed's camp in Balakot, Pakistan.

Why is BJP being slammed?

Asked 2019-03-10 10:00:18 by Parakram Kapoor

Answered by NewsBytes

The BJP is being slammed for "politicizing" the Balakot airstrikes for its benefit.

What did Manoj Tiwari do?

Asked 2019-03-10 10:00:18 by Dhruv Dasgupta

Answered by NewsBytes

Manoj Tiwari dressed in a military uniform during a rally and invited criticism.

Has EC announced election dates?

Asked 2019-03-10 10:00:18 by Saanvi Mistry

Answered by NewsBytes

No. The EC is yet to announce the election dates.

Next Timeline