West Bengal: BJP faces Election Commission wrath for engaging children in election campaign

By: Maitreyee Boruah
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Kolkata, April 8: In the high stake West Bengal Assembly Elections 2016, the BJP is leaving no stone unturned to win votes. Perhaps in their pursuit of winning elections, the political party has forgotten that it is illegal to use children in any election-related matter.

On Thursday (April 7), the Election Commission has banned an advertisement by the BJP for using children and an educational institute in poll campaigning material.


"The Committee (Media Certification Appellate Committee), after due consideration, is of the opinion that the purported audio-visual advertisement had erred on both counts of using an educational institution for the purpose of campaigning as well as using children below 14 years for use of political campaign in contravention of legal provision," a letter to BJP from the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, West Bengal, said.

In fact, it was Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien who had complained before the poll watchdog that a 30-second TV advertisement 'Sunyo' violates the model code of conduct and provisions entailed in the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.

After examining the complaint, the committee which is chaired by CEO Sunil Gupta unanimously decided to direct BJP to withdraw the advertisement from all kinds of media with immediate effect.


"It has been observed that in almost all election campaigns, children are seen participating in poll-related activities of various political parties to garner votes. This is a pan India problem. Most of these kids are from underprivileged section of society. They do campaigning for political parties to earn quick bucks. But it is illegal to use minors for electioneering purposes," said Vasudeva Sharma, a child rights activist.

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