Podcast | Why Every Voter Must Read the Model Code of Conduct
What is the Model Code of Conduct? How can it be an empowering tool in the hands of voters? In this episode of Sadda Haq, we’ll explain how you can ensure that candidates play by the book, based on a series of guidelines set by the Election Commission.
The Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission to ensure that elections are conducted in a free and fair manner. It comprises an important mix of rules that must be followed by every candidate and their parties from the day elections are announced to the day the results are declared.
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. Here are a few guidelines:
> GENERAL CONDUCT: While the 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.
> 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.
> PROCESSIONS: Carrying or burning effigies of the opponents is not allowed. If two rival parties plan a roadshow in the same area, then their routes must not clash.
> POLLING DAY: All those who are working for their parties in the polling booth must wear a badge with the party name and symbol.
> POLLING BOOTHS: Apart from voters, only those individuals with a permit from the EC will be allowed to enter the 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.
> OBSERVERS: If candidates have concerns about the conduct of the elections, they can reach out to the observers appointed by the EC.