Haryana Assembly Elections: Model Code of Conduct

Haryana Assembly Elections: Model Code of Conduct

Haryana Assembly Elections. (AFP Photo)

The Election Commission on Saturday announced election dates for Maharashtra and Haryana. The two states will go to polls on October 21, and the counting will take place on October 24.

Haryana has there are 1.82 crore voters, according to the Election Commission. On Oct 21, 90 assembly constituencies will go to polls in the state.

The main alliances to look for would be the Janata Party (JJP) and Mayawati-led BSP. After breaking with their alliance in the Lok Sabha polls, JJP and BSP  are coming back together for the upcoming elections.

The BSP will contest 50 out of 90 Assembly seats while the rest 40 will be contested by JJP.

The M L Khattar-led BJP expects to retain power while Opposition parties INLD, Congress, AAP and JJP-BSP hope to dethrone the saffron party.

During the elections and even before it, the rules by the Election Commission of India are something to look for. They are known as the 'Model Code of Conduct'.

What is the Model Code of Conduct?

The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is a set of rules put in force by the Election Commission of India to guarantee free and fair elections.

It is a set of norms which has been evolved with the consensus of political parties who have consented to abide by the principles embodied in the said code and also binds them to respect and observe it in its letter and spirit.

When and where is it applicable?

The MCC is valid from the date of announcement of an election, either to the Parliament, State Assembly or Districts, and continues through the election in question.

In the case of Parliamentary or General Elections, the MCC is valid throughout the country.

In the case of Assembly Elections, the MCC is valid throughout the state in which the election is to take place.

In the case of By-elections to districts, the MCC is valid throughout the district where the election is to take place.

Where does the Election Commission come into the equation?

The Election Commission ensures its observance by political parties including ruling parties at the Centre and in the States and contesting candidates in the discharge of its constitutional duties for conducting free, fair and peaceful elections to the Parliament and the State Legislatures.

It also ensures that official machinery for the electoral purposes is not misused. Further, it ensures that electoral offences, malpractices and corrupt practices such as impersonation, bribing and inducement of voters, threat and intimidation to the voters are prevented by all means.

What restrictions do the governments have during the enforcement of the MCC?

1. Ministers cannot combine their official visit with electioneering work. They can also not make use of official machinery or personnel during electioneering.

2. No transport including official air-crafts, vehicles etc. can be used for the furtherance of the interest of any party or a candidate.

3.  A total ban on transfer and posting of all officers/officials directly or indirectly connected with the conduct of the election is put in effect. If any transfer or posting of an officer is considered necessary, prior approval of the Commission must be obtained.

4. No Minister, whether of Union or State, can summon any election-related officer of the constituency or the State for any official discussions anywhere.

5. If a Union Minister is travelling out of Delhi on purely official business, which cannot be avoided in public interest, then a letter certifying to this effect must be sent from the concerned Secretary of the Ministry/Department to the Chief Secretary of the concerned State, along with a copy to the Election Commission.

6.  Advertisements regarding the achievements of the party at the cost of public exchequer in print and electronic media and the misuse of official mass media are prohibited.

7. If any order has been issued by the States or the Union government with respect to any scheme but no work has begun till the MCC is in force, then no work shall be started in that respect. However, if work has actually started in the field, that can be continued.

8. No fresh release of funds under MPs/MLAs/MLCs Local Area Development Fund of any scheme can be made in any area where the election is in progress, till the completion of the election.

9.  Financial institutions funded, partially or wholly by the Governments shall not take recourse to write off loans advanced to any individual, company, firm, etc. Also, financial limits of such institutions, while granting or extending loans, should not be enhanced by issuing of loans indiscriminately to beneficiaries.

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