BJP MLA OP Sharma speaks to ANI in Delhi on Wednesday [Photo/ANI]
BJP MLA OP Sharma speaks to ANI in Delhi on Wednesday [Photo/ANI]

Photo with Abhinandan posted before poll announcement, claims OP Sharma after EC notice

ANI | Updated: Mar 13, 2019 15:56 IST

New Delhi [India], March 13 (ANI): Defending himself to a notice from the Election Commission, BJP MLA OP Sharma on Wednesday claimed that his photograph with Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was posted before Model Code of Conduct (MCC) came into effect.   
"The Election Commission (EC) of India sent me a notice last night. The post was made before Lok Sabha poll dates were announced. I cannot understand how EC is operating," he told ANI.
He added, "Whether it is 2019 Lok Sabha elections or 2014 elections, we are always standing with the Army and have good thoughts about them."
The EC had directed political parties to advise their candidates and leaders to desist from displaying photographs of Wing Commander Varthaman in advertisements as part of their election campaign.
Taking note of Sharma's post, EC sent a notice to him pointing out a violation of the advisory.
EC stated that keeping in view the express advisory of the application of MCC "your tweeter account handle mobile.twitter.com dated 1.3.2019 at 16:40 pm posted in the background of the picture of Wing Commander Shri Abhinandan Varthaman of Indian Air Force with Prime Minister of India and your photo. The posting of picture of Wing Commander Shri Abhinandan Varthaman is a violation of the express advisory of ECI dated 9.3.2019 read with MCC w.e.f 10.3.2019."
It added, "Now, therefore, you are directed to show cause why action under electoral laws and ruled framed thereunder must not be initiated against you, you are directed to submit your reply on or before 14.3.2019 at 11:00 am failing on which necessary action shall be initiated forthwith in accordance with the MCC and other electoral laws and rules thereunder."
The EC in its advisory had stated, "The Armed Forces of a nation are the guardian of its frontiers, security and the political system. They are apolitical and neutral stakeholders in 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."
It added, "The Commission is of the view that photographs of functions of Defence Forces should not be associated with or used in any manner in advertisements/propaganda/campaigning or in any other manner in connection with elections by political parties and candidates."
The advisory mentioned, "The Commission accordingly calls upon all the political parties to advise their candidates/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," it added.
The Model Code of Conduct came into effect after Chief Election Officer Sunil Arora announced the Lok Sabha schedule. Lok Sabha elections will begin on April 11 and polling would be held over seven phases through May 19, followed by counting of all votes on May 23. (ANI)

iocl