Election Commission issues directions for effective enforcement of Model Code of Conduct after announcement of Lok Sabha poll schedule

After the announcement of Lok Sabha Elections and Assembly Elections in four States, the Election Commission has issued directions for effective enforcement of provisions of Model Code of Conduct. In a letter to Cabinet Secretary, Chief Secretaries of all States and Chief Electoral Officers, the Commission said that all wall-writing, posters, papers or defacement in any other form on government property shall be removed within 24 hours from the announcement of elections. It added that all unauthorized political advertisements, in the form of wall writing or posters, hoardings, banners flags at public property and in public spaces like railway stations and bus stands shall be removed within 48 hours. All unauthorized political advertisements displayed at private property shall be removed within 72 hours from the announcement of elections. The Commission also said that there shall be a total ban on use of official vehicles by any political party, candidate or any other person connected with election except officials performing any election-related official duty, for campaigning, or electioneering subject to certain exception. It also said that no advertisements shall be issued in electronic and print media highlighting the achievements of the Government at the cost of public exchequer.

The Chief Electoral Officers and District Election Officers have to take immediate action to remove or stop any advertisement, showing the achievements of the Government soon after the announcement of elections. The CEOs will also have to take immediate action to remove or hide the photographs of any political functionary from official websites of state department. The Commission said that the poll-going states shall have a complaint redressal mechanism based on website and call center. The toll-free number of call center is 1950. Publicity of major election activity would be given and for this purpose necessary information will be disseminated through radio, TV, cinema and government channels to display voter education material.

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