The watchdog of election process in India, Election Commission (EC), has issued a directive to BJP which seizes the tag of ‘Star Campaigner’ from Union Minister Anurag Thakur and Lok Sabha MP Parvesh Sahib Singh.
A move that came in response to the breach of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and The Representation of the People Act, 1951 (RPA) by both the ministers. The EC is of the view that comments by these ministers have the potential to aggravate existing differences and create mutual differences among different religious communities.
The EC has also barred Mr. Thakur and Mr. Singh from taking part in any public meetings, public processions, public rallies, roadshows, and interviews in connection to the upcoming election to the legislative assembly of Delhi for 72 hours and 96 hours respectively.
Who is a star campaigner?
To add visibility and charisma to their election campaign, political parties nominate certain persons to campaign in a given set of constituencies. These persons are, in almost all cases, prominent and popular faces within the party. The expenditure incurred on campaigning by such notified star campaigners is exempt from being added to the election expenditure of a candidate. However, this only applies when a star campaigner limits herself to a general campaign for the political party she represents.
What is the Model Code of Conduct?
The MCC is a set of guidelines issued by the EC to regulate political parties and candidates prior to elections. In line with the Article 324 of The Constitution, the EC spells out the do’s and don’ts for elections through the MCC.
The code comes into force on the date of announcement of the poll schedule and remains operational till the final result of the election is out. It has no statutory backing, but the parties and politicians are still expected to adhere to it on matters ranging from the content of election manifestos, speeches, and processions to general conduct.