Political parties cannot use government resources for self-promotion, rules Election Commission

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New Delhi: The Election Commission on Friday said political parties cannot use public funds and government machinery to promote themselves. The poll panel also barred political parties from using government resources to advertise their election symbols.

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The Commission directed on Friday that no political party shall henceforth either use or allow the use of any public funds or public place or government machinery for carrying out any activity that will amount to advertisement for the party or propagating the election symbol allotted to the party.

"The Commission has directed that no political party shall henceforth either use or allow the use of any public funds or public place or government machinery for carrying out any activity that would amount to advertisement for the party or propagating the election symbol allotted to the party," the EC said in a letter sent to the presidents/general secretaries of all recognised national and state political parties yesterday.

"The Commission is of the view that utilising public funds/public place for promoting any politial party or propagating its election symbol would be antithetical to the concept of free and fair election and the principle of level playing field for all stakeholders," it said adding that any violation of its direction would be trated as violation of lawful direction of the Commission within the meaning of Paragraph 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order, 1968.

The commission also clarified that any violation of the directions will be treated as violation of a lawful direction of the Commission. The development comes following a judgement of the Delhi High Court which had in July remanded back to the poll panel a plea seeking cancellation of Bahujan Samaj Party symbol 'elephant' for alleged misuse of public funds by the erstwhile Mayawati government in installing its statues across the state.

In the run up to 2012 assembly election in Uttar Pradesh, the EC had ordered all statues of elephants erected by the then Mayawati-led BSP government to be covered to ensure 'a level playing field for all the contesting parties'.

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