RJD spokesperson talking to ANI on Sunday in Patna, Bihar. Photo/ANI
RJD spokesperson talking to ANI on Sunday in Patna, Bihar. Photo/ANI

RJD criticises BJP for politicising valour of soldiers, hails EC decision

ANI | Updated: Mar 10, 2019 17:10 IST

Patna (Bihar) [India], Mar 10 (ANI): Criticising BJP for politicising the valour of armed forces, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on Sunday said the Election Commission of India (ECI) has done a right thing by asking political parties not to use the photograph of soldiers during the election campaign in any respect in view of the ensuing Lok Sabha polls.
Talking to ANI, RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha said: “I request the BJP not to politicise the valour shown by our soldiers. It belittles their bravery when you use their photographs for your political gains.”
“When the stories of our soldiers’ bravery transgress into political discourse, our country loses its charm. I thank ECI for issuing this directive finally,” he said.
“This election is indeed a trial of the ECI’s mandate under Article 324, which states that they are the custodian of a free and fair election,” said Jha, also a member of Rajya Sabha.
Congress party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel also lauded the step of ECI.
“ECI’s circular preventing the use of armed forces’ (photographs) during the election campaign was very much needed. Let’s keep our security forces out of politics. By using the military to conceal its own failures, the BJP is walking down a dangerous path,” said Patel.
The controversy erupted when BJP posters surfaced in the national capital displaying pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and other party leaders along with a photograph of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
“It is pertinent to mention here that Armed Forces of the nation are the guardian of its frontiers, security and political system. They are apolitical and neutral stakeholders in modern democracy. It is, therefore, necessary that political parties and leaders exercise great caution while making any reference to the Armed Forces in their political campaigns,” the ECI advisory reads.
“The Commission is of view that 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,” further said ECI in its advisory.
However, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Sunday that the BJP government “has always complied with the directions of ECI and will do so in the future too.”
Stating that the BJP has always supported soldiers and will continue to do so, he said that the BJP was in favour of teaching a lesson to the perpetrators of 2008 Mumbai terror blasts, “but then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh” refused to heed the proposal.
“Recently, our Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a lead to counter terrorism plaguing our country,” said Javadekar, in an apparent reference to India’s surgical strike at JeM’s largest terror training centre at Balakot in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Wing Commander Varthaman was detained by the Pakistan Army on February 27 when his MiG 21 Bison crossed over to the neighbouring country while chasing Pakistani F-16 jets that had transgressed into the Indian airspace. (ANI)