The Election Commission on Wednesday issued a notice to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath for referring to the Indian Army as “Modiji ki Sena [Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s army]”. The poll body has asked Adityanath to submit a response by April 5, ANI reported.

Adityanath had made the remark in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, on Sunday while accusing the Congress of going soft on terrorists during the United Progressive Alliance’s regime. “The Congress government used to serve biryani to terrorists and Modi ji’s army sends bullets and bombs their way,” he had claimed.

On Monday, Election Commission spokesperson Sheyphali Sharan said that Uttar Pradesh’s chief electoral officer had sought a report by Tuesday afternoon.

The same day, former Navy Chief Admiral L Ramdas had said he will approach the Election Commission against the Bharatiya Janata Party leader’s comments. “The armed forces do not belong to any one individual, they serve the country,” Ramdas had said.

Opposition leaders, including Mamata Banerjee, Ashok Gehlot and D Raja, and several Army personnel had criticised Adityanath for his remarks.

On March 9, the Election Commission had instructed political parties to keep the country’s defence personnel out of election campaigning and not to use their photographs in advertisements. In an advisory, the Election Commission had said that the Ministry of Defence had brought to its attention that some parties were using photographs of defence personnel in political advertisements.