No appeal on caste or religious basis: Election Commission to parties


PTI, Mar 2, 2024, 11:39 AM IST

New Delhi: Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission on Friday asked parties and their leaders to refrain from seeking votes on the basis of caste, religion and language, and not insult the devotee-deity relation or make any suggestion of a divine censure.

In an advisory warning to the parties, candidates and star campaigners of stern action for any violation of Model Code of Conduct instead of the previous practice of only ‘moral censure’, the poll panel also said that temples, mosques, churches, gurdwaras or any other place of worship should not be used for poll propaganda or electioneering.

It said that the star campaigners and candidates who have received notices in past will face stern action for repeat violation of model code.

The advisory comes days before the model code is expected to come into effect with the announcement of the Lok Sabha and four state assembly polls later this month.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar had recently emphasised that political parties should foster ethical and respectful political discourse which inspire rather than divide, promote ideas instead of personal attacks.

The Commission’s advisory has now formally set the stage for ethical political discourse and cut clutter in 2024 General Elections, an official said, adding the methodical approach to MCC violations has prepared the ground for civilised campaigning.

The EC warned the parties to maintain decorum in public campaigning and put additional responsibility on star campaigners and candidates, especially those who were issued notices in the past.

It asked the parties to raise the level of election campaign to issue-based debate and said the parties and their leaders should not make statements without factual basis or mislead the voters.

The advisory also covered social media engagements, saying posts vilifying or insulting rivals, posts that are in bad taste or below dignity should not to made or shared.

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