Against the backdrop of complaints by political parties that yoga guru Ramdev was using his programmes to campaign for BJP, the Election Commission on Tuesday said yoga camps cannot be used to support any political party during Lok Sabha polls.
Though there was no official word from it, the poll body today uploaded on its website an October, 2013 order which said the venues of such shivirs (camps) cannot be used for political campaigning by anyone.
“There shall be no formal and publicised inaugural or closing ceremony with political functionaries as chief guests and special invitees,” the EC order issued during the Delhi assembly polls said.
Ramdev’s camp was recently addressed by BJP PM nominee Narendra Modi, following which the yoga guru was issued a notice by the poll authorities for violating the Model Code of Conduct.
The order makes it clear that any direct or indirect political message from the camp will be viewed seriously and the entire expenditure will be treated as having made on election campaigning and booked under relevant provisions of the election expenditure of contesting candidates under election laws.
EC sources said the Commission’s stand on such camps is clear and the order was uploaded to reiterate the decision of the poll body on the issue as there had been several complaints.
Congress candidates have approached the EC complaining that camps of Ramdev and Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar are being used to support BJP and Modi and there should a ban on them till the election process is over.