Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Model Code of Conduct kicks in. Here’s what changes

  • Lok Sabha Polls 2024: The Election Commission of India will announce Lok Sabha Election dates on 16 March. Model Code of Conduct will be enforced nationwide, restricting governmental schemes, resource use, and partisan coverage.

Written By Sayantani Biswas
Updated16 Mar 2024
Lok Sabha Polls 2024: The enforcement of MCC in India ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections will also encompass alteration in how the Indian Government functions.
Lok Sabha Polls 2024: The enforcement of MCC in India ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections will also encompass alteration in how the Indian Government functions.

Lok Sabha Polls 2024: The Election Commission of India (ECI) is set to declare Lok Sabha Election dates on 16 March, Saturday. As soon as the dates are declared, Model Code of Conduct (MCC) will be enforced nationwide in India. The MCC will stay in place till Lok Sabha Election Results are declared. 

The enforcement of MCC in India ahead of the Lok Sabha Elections will also encompass alteration in how the Indian Government functions. 

What is a Model Code of Conduct?

The Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for the conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, meetings, processions, polling day, polling booths, observers, party in power, election manifestos, and general conduct.

Let's take a look at what changes

Governmental Schemes Restricted

-The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government, and other state governments will be prohibited from announcing any financial grants or making promises.

-The authorities are also not allowed to lay foundation stones, or initiate project schemes. Only civil servants can exercise that right during the period of MCC. 

-Candidates who are also ministers in the government cannot makes promises of roads, or other infrastructural guarantee, including provision of drinking water. 

-The ECI rulebook also mentions that ad-hoc appointments in government or Public Undertakings that could influence voters in favour of the ruling party are prohibited

Sanctioning grants, payments by ministers not allowed

-The ECI says that once MCC is in place following the announcement of Lok Sabha poll dates, ministers cannot sanction grants or payments from discretionary funds

Government resource cannot be used for polls

-As soon as the Model Code of Conduct comes into place, the governmental authorities cannot use government resources for electioneering work, and the use of official machinery or personnel for electioneering is also prohibited.

-The ECI rule book further mentions government transport, including official aircraft, vehicles, machinery, and personnel, cannot be used to further the interests of the ruling party during elections.

-Public places like maidans for holding election meetings and helipads for air flights must be accessible to all parties and candidates on the same terms and conditions.

Ruling party cannot monopolize govt accommodation

-The ECI strictly mentions that the ruling party cannot monopolize on rest houses, dak bungalows, or other government accommodations. 

-The ECI also cautions that using these governmental accommodations for as campaign offices or for holding public meetings for election propaganda by any party is also prohibited.

Restrictions on partisan coverage

The ECI mentions that as soon as MCC comes into place, ministers and other authoritarian figures cannot use money from public exchequer for advertising their parties in newspapers or other media. 

“Misuse of official mass media for partisan coverage of political news and publicity regarding achievements to favour the ruling party should be strictly avoided”, the rule book notes. 

What if a party or candidate violates MCC?

It is to be noted that MCC is not legally binding. However, the ECI holds authority under paragraph 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order of 1968 to suspend or withdraw a party's recognition, if the party was found guilty of violating MCC. 

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