New Delhi, Jan 24: Days after Congress used the picture of President Pranab Mukherjee on a poll hoarding, the Election Commission on Tuesday said pictures of constitutional authorities cannot be used for electoral purposes as they cannot be associated with a particular political party.
The directions of the Commission came after the President's Secretariat pointed out that the photographs of the President and Vice-President are being used by political parties, their leaders and candidates in advertisements as part of their election propaganda and urged the poll watchdog to issue "suitable instruction" in this regard.
The Ludhiana unit of Congress in an election campaign meeting last week had put up hoardings in which they used photograph and name of President Mukherjee. "It is pertinent to mention here that the President is the guardian of the Constitution and completely apolitical and neutral in the democratic set up as envisaged in our Constitution. It is, therefore, necessary that the political parties and leaders exercise great caution while making any reference to the President of India in their political campaigns," the EC said.
It made it clear that photographs of President and Vice-President of India, as also the photographs of the Governor of the states, should not be associated with or used in any manner in the advertisement/propaganda/campaigning in connection with elections by political parties and candidates.
"The Commission accordingly calls upon all the political parties to advise their candidates/leaders to desist from displaying photographs of President and Vice-President of India and Governors of the states in their advertisements or otherwise as part of their election propaganda/campaigning," the poll panel said.
A copy of the Commission's directions has also been marked to the President's Secretariat.