New Delhi, Jan 9
The Election Commission of India (EC), on Saturday, announced the schedule for the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur.
While the election in Uttar Pradesh will be held in 7 phases from Feb 10 to March 7, polls in Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Goa will take place in a single phase on February 14. Manipur to vote on Feb 27 and March 3.
With the announcement of the election schedule, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) came into force in these states. Along with other guidelines, the MCC bars the political parties from announcing policy decisions. “Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comes into effect immediately from the announcement of the schedules. The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for ensuring the effective implementation of the MCC guidelines. Any violation of these guidelines will be strictly dealt with”, said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra.
What is Model Code of Conduct or ‘Aachar Sanhita’
Soon after the announcement of elections in India (Central, State, or local), the Model Code of Conduct or the Aachar Sanhita comes into effect that applies to all political parties, the candidates and polling agents, the Government in power, and all Government employees. It remains in force till the declaration of final results.
This set of rules starts governing the conduct of political parties to prevent any use of unfair means by anyone whether incumbent or in Opposition. All the political parties and candidates have to strictly adhere to it.
What happens when the code is violated?
Its violation could land the candidate in trouble or the election be declared void. On the basis of a complaint by another party or an individual, the poll panel issues notice to the political party or a politician for the alleged violation. Either dismissing the charge or accepting that the MCC was violated the party or the person then has to reply in writing to the poll panel.
Model Code of Conduct: Dos And Don’ts
Party or candidate should not involve in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic.
Criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programme, past record, and work.
There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Mosques, Churches, Temples, or other places of worship shall not be used as forums for election propaganda.
All parties and candidates shall avoid scrupulously all activities which are “corrupt practices” and offenses under the election law, such as bribing of voters, intimidation of voters, impersonation of voters, canvassing within 100 meters of polling stations, holding public meetings during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the close of the poll, and the transport and conveyance of voters to and from the polling station.
No political party or candidate shall permit its or his followers to make use of any individual’s land, building, compound wall, etc., without his permission for erecting flag-staffs, suspending banners, pasting notices, writing slogans, etc.
Political parties and candidates shall ensure that their supporters do not create obstructions in or break up meetings and processions organized by other parties.
The party or candidate shall inform the local police authorities of the venue and time of any proposed meeting well in time so as to enable the police to make necessary arrangements for controlling traffic and maintaining peace and order.
A Party or candidate shall ascertain in advance if there is any restrictive or prohibitory order in force in the place proposed for the meeting if such orders exist, they shall be followed strictly.
If permission or license is to be obtained for the use of loudspeakers or any other facility in connection with any proposed meeting, the party or candidate shall apply to the authority concerned well in advance and obtain such permission or license.
Organizers of a meeting shall invariably seek the assistance of the police on duty for dealing with persons disturbing a meeting or otherwise attempting to create disorder. Organizers themselves shall not take action against such persons.