Maharashtra, Haryana assembly elections 2019: What the Election Commission’s model code of conduct is all about
The model code of conduct for political parties and candidates came into force in Maharashtra and Haryana on Saturday with the Election Commission announcing the dates for the assembly elections in the two states.
The code of conduct, an extensive set of guidelines to ensure that elections free and fair, forbids a party or candidate to include any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic.
It limits criticism of other political parties to their policies and programme, past record and work and bars them from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with the public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties.
Haryana and Maharashtra polls: Voting on 21st October, result on 24th October
The code also bars appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes and using places of worship shall as forum for election propaganda.
Under the code, all parties and candidates shall avoid scrupulously all activities which are “corrupt practices” and offences 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 polling station.
The code also has guidelines for meetings and rallies. “The party or candidate shall inform the local police authorities of the venue and time 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 is also expected to ascertain in advance if there is any restrictive or prohibitory order in force in the place proposed for the meeting and if such orders exist, they shall be followed strictly. If any exemption is required, it shall be applied for and obtained well in time.