iconimg Wednesday, September 02, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 05, 2014
The model code of conduct kicked in with Wednesday's announcement of the election schedule, making the Election Commission the country's super-boss. Here’s a look at what it means for parties, candidates and of course, voters.

What is it: A set of norms governing the conduct of political parties and candidates

In force from: Date of announcement of election schedule till elections are over

EC’s role: To ensure code is followed for the sake of free, fair and peaceful polls

Absolute don’ts:
* Activities that may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic

* Criticising parties/candidates on any aspect of private life not connected with public activities

* Criticising based on unverified allegations or distortions

* Utilising official visits for electioneering

* Use of pilot car with beacon lights

* Issuing self-promotional advertisements at the cost of the public exchequer

* Sanctioning grants/payments out of discretionary funds

* Announcing new government schemes; though old ones can continue

* Use of religious places for election propaganda
Checks and balances:

* Govt cannot transfer/give new postings to officials involved in election work without EC approval

* Govt can grant parole to convicted criminals after following due procedures upon consultation with the chief electoral officer only if it feels the move is essential

* Parties/candidates can use govt aircraft/choppers for electioneering, but there should be no discrimination between the ruling party and the others; it will have to paid for and proper record maintained

* Prior written permission should be obtained from concerned police authorities in case of public meetings and processions; use of loudspeakers between 10pm and 6 am is prohibited

What amounts to bribery of voters:
Distributing any item having candidate’s picture or election symbol

Consequences: A complaint may be filed before the area magistrate by the district administration against the distribution of the said material under section 171 B of the IPC

Permitted expenditure:
The amount allotted depends on the size of the state 

* Rs. 70 lakh - expenditure limit for parliamentary candidates in all states except Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Goa

* Rs. 54 lakh - expenditure limit for parliamentary candidates in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Goa

* Rs. 70 lakh – expenditure limit for parliamentary candidates of NCT of Delhi

* Rs. 54 lakh - expenditure limit for parliamentary candidates for all other UTs

* Rs. 28 lakh - expenditure limit for Assembly candidates in bigger states and NCT of Delhi (assembly elections are scheduled for Andhra Pradesh and Odisha)

* Rs. 20 lakh - expenditure limit for assembly candidates of other states and UTs, including Sikkim