Shimla: Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Himachal Pradesh Mrs. Manisha Nanda, said here today that Model Code of Conduct is in operation in Himachal Pradesh, which is a document of mutual agreement between the Election Commission of India and political parties.
She said that the Election Commission of India has issued some guidelines for the candidates and political parties to be observed from the announcement of an election and until the completion of the process of election. Under the guidelines the Doâ€™s are:
- Ongoing programmes, which actually started in the field before the announcement of elections may continue. Relief and rehabilitation measures to the people in areas affected by floods, droughts and other natural calamities, can commence and continue. Grant of cash or medical facilities to terminally or critically ill persons can continue with appropriate approvals.
- Code of conduct believes in first come first serve philosophy and also brings transparency in the working. It also ensures smooth functioning of the democratic set up where everybody discharges his/her duty in fearless manner. Public places like maidans, helipads, rest houses would be available impartially to all parties/contesting candidates for holding election meetings, to ensure a level playing field. The right of every individual for peaceful and undisturbed home life should be fully safeguarded. The local police authorities should be fully informed of the venue and time of the proposed meetings well in time and all necessary permissions taken. If there are any restrictive or prohibitory orders in force in the place of the proposed meeting, they shall be fully respected. Exemption, if necessary, must be applied for and obtained well in time.
- Permission must be obtained for the use of loudspeakers or any other such facilities for the proposed meetings.
- The assistance of the police should be obtained in dealing with persons disturbing meetings or otherwise creating disorder. Under the Doâ€™s, the time and place of the starting of any procession, the route to be followed and the time and place at which the procession will terminate should be settled in advance and advance permissions obtained from the police authorities. The passage of the procession must be without hindrance to the traffic.
- Cooperation should be extended to all election officials at all times to ensure peaceful and orderly poll. All Workers must display badges or identity cards. Unofficial identity slips issued to voters shall be on plain (white) paper and not contain any symbol, name of the candidate or name of the party.
- According to Election Commission of India restrictions on plying of vehicles during the campaign period and on poll day must be fully obeyed. Only persons with a specific valid authority letter from the Election Commission could enter any polling booth without any exemption. Any complaint or problem regarding the conduct of elections shall be brought to the notice of the observer appointed by the Commission/Returning Officer, and the District Election Officer.
- No aspect of the private life, not connected with the public activities, of the leaders or workers of other parties could be permitted to be criticized. Other parties or their workers could not be criticized based on unverified allegations or on distortions. Temples, mosques, churches, gurudwaras or any place of worship could not be used as places for election propaganda, including speeches, posters, music etc. on electioneering.
- Activities which are corrupt practices or electoral offences such as bribery, undue influence, intimidation of voters, convassing within 100 meter of a polling station, holding of public meetings during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the close of the poll and conveyance of voters to and from polling stations are also prohibited.
- Demonstrations or picketing before the houses of individuals by way of protesting against their opinion or activities shall not be resorted to.
Subject to the local laws, no one can make use of any individualâ€™s land, building, compound wall, vehicles etc. for erecting flag staffs, putting up banners, pasting notices or writing slogans etc. without specific permission of the owner.
- No disturbance should be created in public meetings or processions organised by other political parties or candidates. Processions along places at which another party is holding meetings should not be undertaken. Processionists should not carry any articles, which are capable of being misused as missiles or weapons. Posters issued by other parties and candidates shall not be removed or defaced. Posters, flags, symbols or any other propaganda material shall not be displayed in the place being used on the day of poll for distribution of identity slips or near polling booths. Loudspeakers whether static or mounted on moving vehicles, should not be used either before 6 a.m. or after 10 a.m. and without the prior written permission of the authorities concerned.
- On the day of the poll, no person who has been assessed to be having a security threat and therefore given official security could enter the vicinity of a polling station premise (within 100 meters) with his security personnel.
- No person who has been assessed to be having a security threat and therefore provided official security or who has private security guards for himself shall be appointed as an election agent or polling agent or counting agent.