“Pakistan has bowed down. Our brave soldier has returned. It’s a big diplomatic victory that Modiji has brought Abhinandan back in very little time,” reads one of the two controversial posters featuring IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, put up by Delhi BJP MLA Om Prakash Sharma that has invited a show-cause notice from Election Commission, directing him to take down the post.
The posters also carry the pictures of Sharma, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP Chief Amit Shah along with Abhinandan. The EC, in the notice, asked him to take down the post and furnish a reply by Thursday.
District Magistrate, Shahdara, K M Mahesh, told PTI, “We issued a show-cause notice to Mr Sharma on March 11 for posting posters featuring Abhinandan Varthaman on Facebook.”
“He (Sharma) has been asked to furnish a reply by 11 am Thursday. It is a violation of the Model Code of Conduct and appropriate action will be taken,” Mahesh, who is also the returning officer, said.
Sharma is MLA from the Vishwas Nagar seat in the Delhi Assembly.
The move by the election commission is probably the first instance of action against the breach in the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) on social media.
This is the first election where online giant Facebook works along with Election Commission to monitor user activity ahead of the general elections.
The Election Commission observed that the act by Sharma is a violation of Model Code of Conduct which is in effect from March 11. The move comes days after the poll panel issued a directive to all recognised political parties to stop making references to the armed forces in their political campaigns.
The posters uploaded on his verified Facebook handle on March 1 has gained over 2000 reactions, numerous comments and over 150 shares in total at the time of writing this report.
The other poster uploaded in his Facebook handle reads “Jhuk gaya hai Pakistan, laut aaya hai desh ka veer Jawan (Pakistan capitulates, the country’s braveheart is back)”.
Interestingly, the incident comes in the backdrop of another instance where BJP put up a hoarding in Delhi with a picture of Abhinandan along with the party’s catch line ‘NaMo Again, 2019’ for this election.