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Lok Sabha polls 2019: What is Model Code of Conduct?

File photo. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 26, 2019, 03.47 PM (IST)

Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines laid down by the Election Commission to govern the conduct of political parties and candidates in the run-up to an election.

Simply, it comprises all the rules to ensure free and fair polls.

The rules range from issues related to speeches, polling day, polling booths, portfolios, the content of election manifestos, processions and general conduct so that free and fair elections are conducted.

Model Code of Conduct comes into force from the date the election schedule is announced until the date that results are out. As a result, it kicked in from March 11 evening and will remain in effect until the election process is concluded.

What restrictions does the Model Code of Conduct impose on government and political parties?

According to the Model Code of Conduct, any political party — whether at the Centre or in the States — should ensure that it does not use its official position for campaigning.

Ministers and other government authorities cannot announce financial grants in any form.

The ruling government cannot make any ad-hoc appointments in Government, Public Undertakings etc.

No project or scheme which may have the effect of influencing the voter can be announced.

Politicians and officers cannot use executive machinery for the election campaign or any purposes to influence voters.

What happens at the violation of Model Code of Conduct

If a political party, a candidate or a government official is found violating or not adhering to the rules prescribed under the MCC, the citizens can apprise the Election Commission of India (ECI) of such violation through specified means.

The ECI will deliberate on the issue and can take a range of actions: Impose a fine, file an FIR that leads to imprisonment or even cancel the polls in that constituency.

cVIGIL mobile app

Citizens can report violations of model code via cVIGIL mobile app introduced by the ECI. All one has to do is click a picture or a video, describe the activity and upload it via the app. Flying squads will reach the spot in minutes. The identity and other details of the complainant will be kept anonymous in the app.

Story highlights

The Model Code of Conduct intends that no action should be taken by a party in power in close proximity to the date on which the elections are announced so as to derive any benefit therefrom during the elections.