Don't Cross Red Line During Campaign: Election Commission To Political Parties

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar also spoke about the falling level of political discourse.

A key focus of the advisory is ensuring there are no hate speeches.

New Delhi:

Stressing on the importance of adhering to the Model Code of Conduct, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar has warned parties not to cross the red line while campaigning. 

Stating that the level of political discourse is falling in the country, Mr Kumar said on Saturday that a strong advisory has been issued to all political parties. "Having collected data of all Model Code of Conduct (MCC) violations, we have issued a final advisory. So this is how we have set our grounds. We are putting political parties on notice. We have asked political parties to give copies of our guidelines to each star campaigner," he said. 

"Bringing these guidelines to the notice of each star campaigner will be the responsibility of political parties. So we have put them on notice and we will presume knowledge of these guidelines. People were asking' you issued so many notices last time, but did nothing'. That was a moral censor. Now we will go beyond. We will also look at the past and the history, and take a calibrated approach," he added.

Some of the important guidelines are fostering a political discourse that inspires rather than divides and a key focus is on ensuring there are no hate speeches. Not making caste or religious appeals and not criticising "any aspect of private life" are also part of the advisory. 

The advisory also deals with misleading advertisements, ads masquerading as news and social media posts vilifying rivals. 

"We have issued these advisories. Now the time is, during these elections, to go beyond advisories and take concrete action. For this, in these advisories, there are relevant sections of the Act, which are inbuilt. So notice is there, knowledge is there, sections are there. Our request (to political parties) is please don't try to cross the red line during campaigning (sic)," Mr Kumar said. 

"In this digital world, anything you say has a record and is played over and over. Please avoid creating digital memories of bad words that are coming out of your mouth. Please be civilised during the election," he added. 

The Election Commission has also asked political parties to ensure that the discourse towards people with disabilities is respectful and children are not used for campaigning. 

The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases from April 19 to June 1, and the results will be declared on June 4.