New Delhi :10/3/19 :The states where legislative assemblies have been dissolved prematurely the model code of conduct will come into force immediately and the caretaker government will be barred from announcing new schemes, the Election Commission (EC) said.
In a communique to the cabinet secretariat, the EC said the model code will apply to the caretaker state government as well as the central government in matters relating to that particular state.
As the Election Commission of India announced the 2019 Lok Sabha poll schedule, the Model Code of Conduct came into force on Sunday evening.
Opposition parties have questioned the delay in announcing the poll dates, with senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel asking the EC whether it was waiting for the Prime Minister’s “official” travel programme “to conclude”.
But now with the announcement of the dates, the model code of conduct comes into play. But what is it all about?
What is the Model Code of Conduct?
The Election Commission releases a set of guidelines which ensures that polls are free and fair.
According to Article 324 of the Constitution, the EC has the power to monitor the Centre, all the state governments, all the candidates and their respective political parties.
What are the various components of a Model Code of Conduct?
As per PRS Legislative Research, the MCC deals with eight provisions – general conduct, meetings, processions, polling day, polling booths, observers, party in power, and election manifestos.
Under General conduct, while political parties can criticise the other candidates based on policies and programmes and their work record, they are not allowed to use caste and communal sentiments to lure voters. They cannot bribe or intimidate voters and most importantly, they cannot criticise them based on unverified reports.
For meetings, it is mandatory for the political parties to inform the local police about their rallies and public meetings and provide them time to make adequate security arrangements.
Carrying or burning effigies of the opponents is not allowed. It needs to be ensured that in case two rival parties plan a road show in the same area, then their routes must not clash.
During the polling day, all those workers who are working for their parties in the polling booth must wear a badge with party name and symbol.
In the polling booths, apart from voters, only those individuals with a permit from the EC will be allowed to enter polling booths. The political party must not campaign for votes within a distance of 100 metres of the polling booth on the day of voting.
Are there any restriction in place for the ruling party?
The restrictions for the ruling party was put in place in 1979 and the restrictions were same for both state and Centre.
The restrictions are:
The ruling party must not advertise at the cost of the public exchequer or use official mass media for publicity on achievements.
No Member of Parliament or minister should combine their official visit with campaigning or party work.
Ministers and other authorities must not announce any financial grants, or promise any construction of roads, provision of drinking water, and so on.
Other parties must be allowed to use public spaces, and it must not be monopolised by those in power.