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Don’t mix religion with election campaigns: EC tells politicians

Against the backdrop of some politicians allegedly making statements invoking religious sentiments, the Election Commission on Sunday dubbed it as an unhealthy trend and asked them to desist from such remarks.

In a letter sent to leaders of all recognised political parties, the poll panel advised leaders to observe “self-imposed restraint” while campaigning.

“The Commission has noted with dismay that (past) advisories are not having the desired result and has noted a disturbing tendency of inflammatory statements being made by political leaders with underlying object of mixing religion with election campaign,” it said.

“In these days, when a statement is made by a political functionary, it doesn’t remain confined to the audience or place where made, and travels electronically through TV, Social Media or print media, to a place/state where election is going on. It definitely influences the minds of the voters of a poll bound state. The far reaching implication of the statement made thus disturbs the level playing field and sometime adversely affect the peace and harmony of the poll bound area, ” the statement read.

“The Hon’ble Apex Court of the country has also expressed its deep concern in the matter of mixing religion with election campaign, vide its Order dated 02.01.2017 in Civil Appeal No. 37 of 1992 (Abhiram Singh Vs C.D. Commachen) and with Civil Appeal no. 8339 of 1995,” the statement further read.

The poll watchdog also said some of the statements were made from places where the model code is not in force. It said in this electronic age, such remarks easily reach places where election process is one and disturbs the level playing field for other candidates.

Urging parties and leaders to “reverse the trend”, the Commission said such speeches indicate an “unhealthy trend” which is a cause of concern.

ANI/PTI