New Delhi : With the announcement of the seven-phase polling for assembly elections for five states on Saturday, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) has come into force with immediate effect.
The Model Code of Conduct for political parties and candidates will be in force till the completion of the election in the states scheduled to go for polls — Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa.
The Election Commission’s letter to the Chief Secretaries of the states concerned drew attention to the particular provisions of the MCC relating to the ‘party in power’ which says that the party in power shall ensure that no cause is given for any complaint that it has used its official position for the purpose of its election campaign. “In particular, the Ministers shall not combine their official visit with electioneering work and also shall not make use of official machinery or personnel during the electioneering work,” it said.
The restrictions also include use of government transport, including the aircraft, for furtherance of the interest of the party in power.
The EC letter also drew attention towards the provisions of use of public places, such as parks, maidans etc. and also about who can use the Rest Houses, Dak Bungalows etc.
“The issue of advertisement at the cost of public exchequer in the newspapers and other media and the misuse of official mass media during the election period for partisan coverage of political news and publicity gathering achievements with a view to furthering the prospects of the party in power shall be scrupulously avoided,” it said.
No ministers or other authorities are allowed to sanction any grants/payments out of the discretionary funds from the time elections are announced nor can they lay foundation stone etc. or make any promises for providing any kind of civil facilities.
The Commission also reminded the top state babu about the complete ban on transfer of officials, and in case utmost necessary, to do so with prior permission of the Commission.
The assembly elections for five states – Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur – would be held in seven phases. Uttar Pradesh would have voting on February 10, 14, 20, 23 and March 3 & 7; Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand would have polling on February 14 while Manipur will have voting in two phases, February 27, and March 3.