Instances Of Political Parties Violating Or "Almost Violating" The Model Code Of Conduct
As the country’s biggest election is knocking the doors, the Election Commission which is the election watchdog of the country is having a tough time to keep an eye on all the incidents that are happening and deciding whether these incidents are violating the Model Code of Conduct or not. Soon after the model code of conduct came into force on March 10, the ruling party as well as opposition several times have provoked the watchdog to slam them with the violation of MCC.
Here are a few instances where BJP crossed the line or almost crossed the line
- On April 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while making speech said that the Congress President Rahul Gandhi apart from contesting from Amethi chose Wayanad in South India because the Congress party is afraid of the verdict of voters in a Hindu-majority constituency. None of the political party has registered a complaint against it. However, EC has clearly mentioned that the use of religious sentiments to garner more vote is a violation of the code. He further claimed that Congress coined the term “Hindu terror”. The EC as of now has reacted to Modi’s speech.
- On March 27, the entire country glued their eyes on to TV as Modi all of a sudden decided to announce the successful testing of an anti-satellite missile. He further claimed that India became the fourth country to do so after the US, China, and Russia. While it was certainly a day worth celebrating for the country, few members from opposition parties complained to the EC claiming that it was an election stunt performed by the ruling party. After receiving complaints from Aam Admi Party and CPI(M), the EC reviewed the Modi’s address and stated that it was not a violation to the code of conduct as it did not advance the prospects of the party in power.
- On March 31, the ruling party launched a separate channel called Namo TV which is solely dedicated for the broadcasting of Modi’s rallies and speeches. On the very next day, the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party complained to the EC about it, but as of now, the EC is yet to deliver a final verdict on it.
- On March 31, the Congress complained against Doordarshan’s decision of live broadcasting ruling government’s “Main bhi chowkidar” event. The Economic Times had reported that Doordarshan upheld its decision by claiming the event as “high news values”.
- On March 23 Rajasthan governor while addressing to party workers had said that Modi government needs to come in power. Reacting to this the Election Commission (EC) is to write a letter to the President Ram Nath Kovind. The governor in his speech described himself as BJP ‘karyakarta (member)’ and said that PM Modi should be re-elected to power. The election watchdog said that it is a concerning issue and believed that with such a comment, the Governor has violated the Model Code Of Conduct (MCC) and brought down the “prestige of the high office occupied by him”.
- The release of Modi’s biopic has become a concern for all the opposition parties, as they believe the release of the movie just before the election will influence the voters. India Today on April 4 reported that BJP had told the EC that it had no connections with the producers of the movie. The report further said that the party supports the release of the movie as if a ban on the film would curb the right to freedom of speech and expression.
- The Trinamool Congress on March 19 complained that Indian Railways has rolled out tickets carrying photographs of Narendra Modi. Report of Narendra Modi’s photographs on Air India boarding pass to resurfaced on the social website. Paper teacups with “main bhi chowkidar” too resurfaced that were sold by a Railway vendor to serve tea to passengers. The Election Commission in return wrote to the ministry of civil aviation and the Railway Board asking for their response on the matter. The Railway slammed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the vendor who had sold the paper cups.
Instances where opposition parties almost violated the MCC
- The Delhi chief electoral office received a complaint against an Aam Admi Party legislator by an advocate in March citing that the legislator took advantage of his official visit for campaigning. Satya Ranjan Swain complained that the AAP legislators while inspecting CCTV installations campaigned for the party. The MCC states, “shall not combine their official visit with electioneering work and shall not also make use of official machinery or personnel during the electioneering work.” In response to the complaint, the Delhi Secretariat has asked the politician to stick to the poll code.
- The AIADMK accused the Puducherry chief minister V.Naryanasamy (Congress) of violating MCC by extending freebies to people using the chief minister’s relief fund. As of now, the EC has not taken any action.
- The BJP Delhi unit has lodged a complaint against the AAP and Congress for violating the MCC. Vijendra Gupta has asked the chief electoral officer of Delhi to be stringent against both these parties. He alleged that Congress had posted a video on Twitter which spoke ill of the Prime Minister of India. He said, “The video is full of lies, distortions; half-truth and a tell-tale sign of the low levels Congress is ready to stoop to mislead the public.” On March 25, Gupta lodged a complaint against Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his letters that were supposed to be sent to consumers with water bills which carried the achievements of Delhi Jal Board. Gupta further noted that the letters did not have a date or dispatch number and this is simply a violation of government rules. He also purported that at least 26 lakhs copies of letters were printed.