Criticise, but do not hit below belt: Election Commission

There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Election Commission’s model code of conduct, which came into effect with the announcement of the election schedule, says that mutual criticism by political parties and candidates shall be confined to policies and programmes and not on aspects of private life.

Aimed at ensuring a high standard of poll discourse, the Commission says the criticism of parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion “shall be avoided”.

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 forum for election propaganda.

No party or candidate shall involve in any activity that may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic groups.

The carrying of effigies purporting to represent member of other political parties or their leaders, burning such effigies in public and such other forms of demonstration shall not be countenanced by any political party or candidate.

Organising demonstrations or picketing before houses of individuals by way of protesting against their opinions or activities shall not be resorted to under any circumstances.

However much political parties or candidates may resent others’ political opinions or activities, rights of individuals for peaceful and undisturbed home-life during elections should be respected, says the commission.

No political party or candidate shall permit its or his followers to make use of any individual’s land, building or compound wall without his permission for erecting flagstaff, suspending banners, pasting notices and writing slogans.

Organisers shall take steps in advance to arrange for the passage of the procession so that there is no block or hindrance to traffic. If the procession is very long, it shall be organised in segments of suitable length so that at convenient intervals, especially at points where the procession has to pass road junctions, the passage of held-up traffic could be allowed by stages thus avoiding heavy traffic congestion.

Processions shall be so regulated as to keep as much to the right of the road as possible and the direction and advice of the police on duty shall be strictly complied with.

Candidates cannot print and distribute diaries, calendars or stickers depicting his/her image or image of gods or deities as it would amount to bribery under section 171E of Indian Penal Code.

Prior written permission should be obtained from the police for using loudspeakers. But they cannot be used between 10 pm and 6 am. Public meetings are also barred between 10 pm and 6 am.

No person is allowed to carry or use mobile phones, cordless phones and wireless sets in 100-meter perimeter of polling stations (polling station neighbourhood) and within the polling booth.

Only observer/micro observer, presiding officer and security personnel are allowed to carry mobile phone but they will keep their mobile phones in silent mode.

Ministers shall not combine their official visit with electioneering and shall not also make use of official machinery or personnel during the electioneering work.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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