The PM’s speeches fall foul of the Model Code of Conduct

The PM’s speeches fall foul of the Model Code of Conduct


Amidst the fervor of Lok Sabha elections, the discourse surrounding political manifestos takes center stage. Recent statements by political leaders and the content of party manifestos have stirred controversy, prompting scrutiny of their adherence to electoral guidelines and constitutional principles.

GS-02 (Polity)

Dimensions of the Article:

  • What is the Issue About
  • Model Code of Conduct (MCC)
  • Guidelines of MCC
  • Suggested Measures

What is the Issue About:

  • The current electoral landscape is marked by heated debates over the contents of party manifestos and the narratives propagated by political leaders.
  • Statements made by the Prime Minister alleging redistributive policies by the opposition have ignited controversy and raised questions about the integrity of political discourse.

Model Code of Conduct (MCC):

  • The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) serves as a regulatory framework, albeit lacking strict legal backing, aimed at fostering a fair electoral environment and upholding ethical campaigning principles.
  • It can also be defined as a set of guidelines to regulate political parties and individual candidates during the campaign prior to elections.
  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) emphasizes democratic values such as transparency, fairness, and accountability through MCC enforcement.

Guidelines of MCC:

  • The MCC prohibits criticism of political parties based on caste, communal sentiments, unverified reports, bribery, or voter intimidation, focusing instead on policies and records.
  • Political parties must inform local police authorities about meeting venues and times to ensure adequate security arrangements.
  • Coordination between parties planning processions along the same route is necessary to prevent clashes, with burning effigies representing members of other parties prohibited.
  • On polling day, only authorized voters and individuals with EC-issued passes are allowed inside polling booths, and party workers at booths should wear suitable badges or identity cards.
  • EC-appointed observers address election-related issues reported by candidates, ensuring fair conduct.
  • Restrictions on combining official visits with election work, avoidance of public exchequer expenses or official media use for electoral publicity, and prohibition of announcing financial grants or promises during the election period apply to parties in power.

Suggested Measures:

  • Clarity and Accountability: Political parties must ensure clarity and transparency in their manifesto declarations, aligning them with constitutional principles and electoral guidelines. Misrepresentation or distortion of manifesto content should be met with accountability measures to maintain the integrity of electoral discourse.
  • Adherence to Electoral Guidelines: Parties should strictly adhere to guidelines outlined by the Election Commission of India (ECI) regarding manifesto content and electoral conduct. Violations of these guidelines, such as appeals to caste or communal sentiments, should be addressed promptly to uphold the sanctity of the electoral process.
  • Promotion of Constructive Dialogue: Political leaders should engage in constructive dialogue that focuses on policy issues and governance rather than resorting to divisive rhetoric. Upholding the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and refraining from inflammatory statements are essential for fostering a conducive electoral environment.
  • Enhanced Oversight and Accountability: The Election Commission should exercise enhanced oversight and enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with electoral guidelines. Robust monitoring of campaign activities and proactive intervention in case of violations are imperative to uphold the integrity of elections.
  • Public Awareness and Vigilance: Citizens should be empowered with awareness about electoral guidelines and encouraged to report instances of misconduct or violations. Public vigilance plays a crucial role in holding political parties and leaders accountable for their actions during elections.