Election Commission reiterates warning to political parties to abstain from 'religious persuasion' of voters

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

New Delhi [India], Feb. 26 (ANI): The Election Commission of India has once again called on the political parties contesting elections, to refrain from using religion as election propaganda to garner support, stating that this will fuel communal disharmony. In a letter addressed to the Presidents/Secretaries of National and State political parties, the ECI has pointed out although a number of advisories have been issued with regards to the aforementioned matter, political leaders are leaning towards involving religious sentiments in election rallies being conducted. "In these days, when a statement is made by a political functionary, it doesn't remain confined to the audience or place where made, and travels electronically through TV, Social Media or print media, to a place/state where election is going on. It definitely influences the minds of the voters of a poll bound state. The far reaching implication of the statement made thus disturbs the level playing field and sometime adversely affect the peace and harmony of the poll bound area," the statement read. The ECI has also advised politicians to refrain from making any such statement that can be misconstrued as an attack on any particular religious community, thus sparking off hatred between communities or any such form of communal unrest. "The Hon'ble Apex Court of the country has also expressed its deep concern in the matter of mixing religion with election campaign, vide its Order dated 02.01.2017 in Civil Appeal No. 37 of 1992 (Abhiram Singh Vs C.D. Commachen) and with Civil Appeal no. 8339 of 1995," the statement further read. This development comes in the wake of the Election Commission investigating a case registered against Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) Uttar Pradesh unit chief Keshav Prasad Maurya, for wearing the party symbol while he cast his vote. Maurya landed himself in trouble for displaying the party's poll symbol 'lotus' at the time of exercising his franchise at a booth in Allahabad. (ANI)