New Delhi: In view of the several religious festivals slated to fall in the months of March and April, Delhi`s Chief Electoral Officer on Saturday issued guidelines against political parties using such gatherings/functions as a platform to appeal for votes.
"There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Temples, mosques, churches or other places of worship shall not be used as forums for election propaganda.
"Political functionaries can attend any religious gathering/functions, but cannot make any political speech at (such events)," the circular stated.
The circular also stated that organisers of religious functions should strictly ensure that no advertisements for the same depicting photographs of political leaders/candidates should be used to seek votes.
An election candidate may not be introduced as such at any religious function, the guidelines added.
"Political parties cannot appeal for votes from religious platforms. Candidates can attend religious functions only in individual capacity. Besides, printing and distribution of diary/calendar/sticker or any other material depicting his/her image or the image of gods, etc. Will amount to bribery under Section 171E of IPC," the circular said.
In case of any violation, apart from action against the violator under the relevant statutes, the expenses incurred for holding the said event shall be added to the election expenditure of the contesting candidate.
The circular exhorted the authorities concerned, including police, to remain mindful of the above guidelines and ensure strict vigilance.