EC asks parties not to put out ads that can create 'mutual hatred'

The Election Commission on Saturday asked political parties in Bihar not to publish advertisements that have the potential to create mutual hatred and ill-will among different social and religious communities so that the peaceful atmosphere is not vitiated.

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Saturday asked political parties in Bihar not to publish advertisements that have the potential to create mutual hatred and ill-will among different social and religious communities so that the peaceful atmosphere is not vitiated.

In a strongly-worded advisory, the Commission has directed the Chief Electoral Officer of Bihar to ask political parties, workers and candidates to also provide poll authorities with a copy of advertisement sent to print media for publication.

The advisory said the state CEO Bihar will direct all national and state parties not to publish advertisements that have the potential to create disharmony and create ill-will among various communities based on social and religious lines.

Invoking its Constitutional powers under Article 324 of the Constitution, the EC issued the advisory today following various complaints received by it that advertisements are being issued by some parties, candidates and their workers that have the potential of aggravating differences between classes of citizens.

The complaints also said that such advertisements have potential to create mutual hatred, ill-will and disharmony amongst different social and religious communities and are violative of Model Code of Conduct and statutory provisions of law.

"With a view to ensuring that such advertisements are not published which have the effect of vitiating the peaceful and congenial atmosphere conducive to the conduct of free and fair elections, Election Commission of India has directed under Article 324 of the Constitution that CEO Bihar shall direct all national, state and regional political parties contesting elections in Bihar that whenever they release advertisement for publication in the print media, a copy of the material furnished to the printer for publication should simultaneously be sent by concerned political parties/ candidates to CEO and District Election Officer," it said.

It also stated that CEO Bihar shall also direct state presidents of various parties to ensure that advertisements of the type as mentioned are not published in print media till the completion of election process in Bihar.

The advisory also said that CEO will direct the newspapers not to publish such advertisements till the election process is complete in the state.

The directions come a day after banning two controversial advertisements of BJP from publication in Bihar where Assembly polls are underway.

The EC had asked CEO Bihar to ensure that the two advertisements are not published in any newspaper or journal from tomorrow onwards till the election process is over.

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