Former Navy Chief Admiral L Ramdas on Monday said he will approach the Election Commission against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath’s comment referring to the Army as “Modiji ki Sena [Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s army]”.

“The armed forces do not belong to any one individual, they serve the country,” he said, according to PTI. “Till the polls get over, the Chief Election Commissioner [Sunil Arora] is the boss. I am going to approach the Election Commission in this regard.” He also said Army veterans and those still part of the Armed Forces were upset with Adityanath’s remarks.

“The Congress government used to serve biryani to terrorists and Modi ji’s army sends bullets and bombs their way,” Adityanath had said at a rally in Ghaziabad on Sunday. The Election Commission had on Monday sought a report on the chief minister’s remark.

Lieutenant General HS Panag (retired) said that remarks such as those made by Adityanath lead to politicisation of the Army. He said such comments have been made by politicians over the last five years in order to link nationalism with the Army.

On March 7, Ramdas had written a letter to the Election Commission, urging it to prevent the use of the Indian Armed Forces by political parties to influence the electorate.

On March 9, the Election Commission instructed political parties to keep the country’s defence personnel out of election campaigning and not to use their photographs in advertisements. The order came following a Ministry of Defence complaint. There had been instances of Bharatiya Janata Party leaders using Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman’s photo in election posters. Varthaman’s MiG-21 jet was downed by Pakistani F-16s over Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on February 27 during a dogfight. The pilot was returned to India on March 1.

The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, and the results will be declared on May 23.