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Advisory to pol parties: ‘No defence personnel on your advts’

Jammu, Mar 10: The Election Commission of India Saturday issued an advisory to political parties asking them not to use photographs of any Defence personnel in their advertisements for the upcoming elections.
In a communication to heads of all recognized National and State Political Parties, ECI stated that the Ministry of Defence has brought to the notes of the commission that the photographs of the Defense personnel are being used by the political parties in advertisements as part of their election propaganda and asked them to refrain from such acts.
ECI observed that armed forces of a nation are the guardians of its frontiers, security and the political system and are apolitical and neutral stakeholders in a 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,” the communication reads.
The Commission is of the 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.
The Commission called 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 advertisement, or otherwise as part of their election propaganda/campaigning.


‘FB, Google will keep fake news, hate speech away’
New Delhi, Mar 10: After the global criticism of the two internet majors Facebook and Google for being used to allegedly manipulate the Presidential Elections in the United States of America, the social media giants have taken a slew of measures ahead of the general elections in India, announced the Election Commission.
The Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said, “Google and Facebook have announced verification of the political advertisers and ad archives with reference to ad buying on social media.”
To keep a check on election violation, the menace of fake news and hate speech during the election period social media platforms have told the Election Commission that they have appointed dedicated officers to take necessary and prompt action against malicious content published on their platforms.
They have also committed to taking action on any complaint reported by the designated officers of the Election Commission of India (ECI).
Arora also mentioned that “the Internet and Mobile Association of India in consultation with ECI is formulating a set of code of ethics, this is a work in progress.”
In its Ad Library, Facebook has a total of 16,556 ads reported till March 4 this year that is “related to politics and issues of national importance” in India. The total amount spent on these ads is Rs 4,13,88,087. (Agencies)

Oppn slams Centre
Omar calls it ‘Modi’s surrender’; ‘antithetical’ to democracy, says Mehbooba

Srinagar, Mar 10: Parties in Jammu and Kashmir Sunday criticised the decision to defer assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir and blamed the Centre for “mishandling” the security situation and “surrendering” to militants and separatists.
The Congress, National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) flayed the Centre for not holding the assembly polls along with the parliamentary election, which will be held in five phases in the state.
The NC said it was for the first time since 1996 that assembly election in the state was not being held on time.
Former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said, “Decision to hold only parliamentary elections in J&K confirms sinister designs of Government of India.”
“Not letting people elect a government is antithetical to the very idea of democracy. Also a tactic of buying time to disempower people by pushing an agenda that suits their ulterior motives,” she tweeted.
The Election Commission, which announced the schedule for the parliamentary election on Sunday, cited security reasons for deferring assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir. The state has been under President’s Rule after the ruling alliance between the BJP and the PDP fell apart last year.
After the poll panel announced its decision, NC leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “surrendered” before Pakistan, militants and separatists.
“In light of the failure to conduct assembly elections on time in J&K I’m retweeting my tweets from a few days ago. PM Modi has surrendered to Pakistan, to the militants & to the hurriyat. Well done Modi Sahib. 56 inch chest failed, Omar said, taking a dig at the prime minister.
Modi’s “abject surrender” to anti-India forces is “a crying shame”, he said.
“Balakote & Uri are not symbols of PM Modi’s handling of national security, J&K is and look at the mess he has made there. The abject surrender to anti-India forces is a crying shame, he said, referring to the Uri terror attack and the air strike by India in terrorist camps in Pakistan’s Balakot after the Pulwama terror strike.
“Remember this the next time you are praising PM Modi for his strong leadership,” he said.
Omar said that in 2014, J-K had Lok Sabha elections on time and assembly elections on schedule even after the most devastating floods, but delaying them now “shows how badly the BJP & earlier the BJP-PDP mishandled J&K.
“What happened to (Union Home Minister) @rajnathsingh’s assurance to Lok Sabha & Rajya Sabha as well as to the all-party meeting recently in Delhi that all forces would be made available for simultaneous polls?” he asked in another tweet.
Omar said he never thought Modi would be “willing to confess his failure on a global stage by not conducting the assembly polls on time in J-K.
“With the amount of international attention elections in J&K attract I never thought PM Modi would be willing to confess his failure on a global stage but we all make mistakes & that was mine,” he said.
The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Congress alleged that the assembly election was deferred due to the Centre’s “mishandling” of the situation.
“The Centre’s tall claims regarding the situation in the state stand exposed. The Centre has itself certified that the situation is out of control and not conducive for holding simultaneous polls, Pradesh Congress Committee president G A Mir said in a statement.
Mir said it was a golden chance for the Centre to hold assembly elections to give an elected government to the people, as all political parties favoured simultaneously elections in the state.
But, the Centre has once again failed to hold assembly elections citing volatile situation as the reason which is indicative of utter failure of the Centre to respect the urges and aspirations of the people, he said.
The Congress leader recalled that during the UPA government’s tenure, elections were conducted in 2014 despite unfavourable conditions, but the state recorded the “highest poll percentage”.
“This time, elections have been deferred due to the mishandling of the situation on the part of the Centre,” Mir alleged.
Senior CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami said deferment of assembly polls will send out wrong signals to people within and outside the state.
He said the Chief Election Commissioner during his presser in New Delhi repeatedly cited recent incidents of violence in Kashmir as the reason for not holding assembly polls.
“If that is true, then how could Lok Sabha polls be held? Even the J-K Governor recently said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi complimented him for ‘successful’ conduct of civic elections in Jammu and Kashmir. When these polls could be held, what is the logic for deferring assembly polls? Tarigami questioned.
The Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (NPP) expressed surprise over the decision to not hold the assembly election simultaneously with Lok Sabha polls in the state.
NPP supremo Bhim Singh said in Jammu, “This has exposed the double standards of the BJP government at the Centre.”
Singh claimed that the BJP government has deliberately deprived the people of the state of their constitutional rights.
Lok Sabha elections will begin on April 11 and continue for over a month till May 19 across seven phases, followed by counting of votes on May 23, the Election Commission announced in Delhi on Sunday.