The moment Election Commission of India declares elections schedule, the Model Code of Conduct comes into force which presents the guidelines in conducting free and fair elections in the country and the Election Commission officers have the authority to take action against anyone violating Model Code of Conduct. The Election Commission declared the 2019 Lok Sabha elections schedule on March 10. Voting will take place in seven phases starting from April 11 to May 19, 2019. After the announcements, several reports rounded the India media which stated that the Model Code of Conduct was being crushed by the political parties, their leaders, workers and supporters without bothering about the consequences of their misconduct. Some reports stated that Shiv Sena and BJP in Maharashtra even used Ambulances for promoting their political agendas.
The history of India is a proof in itself that the leaders continue their campaigning, promotions, public speech, sticking posters, distributing hand wills to the people cum voters even on polling day. MCC gives an overview of the political parties and candidates about what to do and what not to before and during the elections. Under the Model Code of Conduct, leaders and political parties are also not allowed to count and showcase their achievements and whatever work they have done during their tenure in the government and if they are caught doing the same, then the Election Commission has the authority to take action against them for violating the Model Code of Conduct.
In the last few weeks, many political parties from across the nation have lodged many complaints against Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as BJP president Amit Shah and other politicians from the ruling party of violating the Model Code of Conduct. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Chandranaidu Babu criticised the Election Commission of India for its biased behaviour towards perpetrators violating Model Code of Conduct and asked if the MCC is separate for the prime minister on one hand and chief ministers on the other.
He also added that this is not the first time when Prime Minister has violated the Model Code of Conduct. There is a violation by Modi’s part every day. Bahujan Samaj Party President and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati also accused the Election Commission of ignoring Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is moving freely even after being alleged in so many cases of violating the Model Code of Conduct. However, the Election Commission is yet to decide if PM Modi violated its advisory by referring to Indian Army as well as to Indian Air Force’s air strikes on a terror camp of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Pakistan while addressing a poll rally in Latur, Maharashtra on April 9.
It was also reported that PM Modi violated the Model Code of Conduct by his speech at another election rally at Wardha in Maharashtra on April 1. He accused that the Congress has hurt Hindu sentiments by allegedly coining the term ‘Hindu Terror’. He further attacking at Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from Wayanad in Kerala in addition to Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, Modi and said that the opposition leaders are now seeking election from constituencies where majority community of the country is a minority.
The election committee is still examining the transcripts of Modi’s speech even after a month is passed after the prime minister statements in Wardha. Weeks have also passed since the prime minister during his rally in Latur on April 9, asked first-time voters to dedicate their votes to the defence personnel who conducted India’s February 26 air strikes in Pakistan. However, the Election Commission is still busy going through the transcripts of his speech.
The Election Commission on March 9 and 19 issued two advisories asking the politicians to not to display pictures of defence personnel or refer to their activities to grab votes during elections. As per the media reports the Election Commission had received the full transcript of PM’s speech on April 1 in Wardha. Similarly, the full transcript of his speech in Latur also reached to Election Commission headquarters in Nirvachan Sadan on April. But the action is taken from the EC side is zero.
However, the question that remained unanswered is that is EC interested or serious about taking the action about this perpetrator, or is afraid or may be under any influence or maybe it is being used by the ruling government that could be reason for it to not take any action against these parties and leaders violating the model of conduct. The new name that is rounding the media is of Narendra Modi, who wile casting his vote, gathered the media persons, had discussions, promoted himself, and directly violated elections law and order.
The Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India which are to be followed by both the political parties and candidates contesting the elections. The MCC is a set of instructions on complaining, general conduct and meetings during the election and it remains effective till the entire election process is completed. This is in keeping with Article 324 of the Indian Constitution which gives power to the EC to supervise the elections to the Parliament and the state legislatures. The MCC came into force after the Election Commission declares the election schedule, however, for the general elections this year, the MCC came into force on March 10, 2019, when the election schedule was announced and will remain in force till May 23, 2019 – when the final result will be declared.
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