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EC Issues Show-cause Notice to BJP MLA for Putting Posters Featuring IAF Pilot Abhinandan

Om Prakash Sharma shared the two posters in question, both carrying the photographs of Abhinandan, on Facebook on March 1. The poster also had pictures PM Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and of himself.

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Updated:March 13, 2019, 12:57 PM IST
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EC Issues Show-cause Notice to BJP MLA for Putting Posters Featuring IAF Pilot Abhinandan
IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.(Image: PTI)
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New Delhi: The EC has issued a show-cause notice to Delhi BJP MLA Om Prakash Sharma on Wednesday for putting up two posters featuring him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman on Facebook. The Election Commission (EC) has asked him to take down the post and give a reply by Thursday.

On Tuesday, citing violation of the Model Code of Conduct, the Commission had asked Facebook to drop two political posters with IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s photograph, shared by BJP leader and Delhi MLA Om Prakash Sharma.

Based on a complaint received on its cVIGIL app, the EC has also flagged the content to Shivnath Thukral, Director, Public Policy for India and South Asia, at Facebook. The Commission had introduced the cVIGIL app during the Karnataka Assembly election last year, which enables voters to register complaints related to the conduct of the Lok Sabha polls.

Sharma had shared the two posters in question, both carrying the photographs of Abhinandan, on Facebook on March 1. The poster also had Prime Minister Narendra Modi BJP president Amit Shah and Sharma.

One of the posters read, “Modi ji dwara itne kam samay main bahadur Abhinandan ko wapas lana Bharat ki bahut badi kootnitik vijay hai (Abhinandan’s quick return is a big diplomatic win for PM Modi and India).”

“Jhuk gaya hai Pakistan, laut aaya hai desh ka veer Jawan (Pakistan capitulates, the country’s braveheart is back),” read the other poster.

District Magistrate, Shahdara, K M Mahesh, said, "We issued a show-cause notice to Sharma on March 11 for posting posters featuring Abhinandan Varthaman on Facebook."

"He (Sharma) has been asked to furnish a reply by 11 am Thursday. It's a violation of the Model Code of Conduct and appropriate action will be taken," Mahesh, who is also the district election officer, said.

Referring to its December 2013 letter to all political parties, the poll panel had recently asked them to refrain from making references to the armed forces while canvassing for elections.

The directive had come against the backdrop of a picture showing a hoarding with images of Varthaman and leaders of a party.

The Model Code of Conduct came into force with the Election Commission of India's announcement of the complete schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019.

Under General conduct, while political parties can criticise the other candidates based on policies and programmes and their work record, they are not allowed to use caste and communal sentiments to lure voters. They cannot bribe or intimidate voters and most importantly, they cannot criticise them based on unverified reports. Besides, political parties cannot refer to the armed forces in their political campaigns.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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