New Delhi: The Election Commission has directed that no political party would be allowed to use public funds and government machinery to carry out activities that amount to advertisement for it, a move which comes amid allegations that Bahujan Samaj Party put up statues of elephants, its election symbol, in public places when it was in power in Uttar Pradesh.
The Election Commission issued the orders following a judgment of the Delhi High Court which had in July remanded back to the poll panel a plea seeking cancellation of BSP symbol 'elephant' for alleged misuse of public funds by the erstwhile Mayawati government in installing its statues across the state.
"... 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.
"It is clarified that any violation of the... Directions would be treated as violation of a lawful direction of the Commission," the EC said.
The order of the Delhi High Court had come on the plea of an NGO which had claimed that putting up elephant statues in public places "disturbs the level-playing field" in an electoral contest as it stands on the same footing like the display of a photograph inside an office.
The EC had sought views of political parties on the issue. Most of the parties which responded had supported the idea.