Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal was the first prominent politician detained in Gujarat for the violation of Model Code of Conduct that came into effect immediately after the Election Commission of India (EC) announced the election schedule to the Lok Sabha on 5 March 2014. Under the glare of the Code, Kejriwal was arrested for not taking prior permission from the authorities concered for holding a road show of his party's election campaign.
"The Model Code of Conduct is crucial to make sure a level playing field among various contenders in the poll fray," said the Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath at the press conference.
The election Code of Conduct is like a guide for the political parties and those candidates contesting the polls.
The EC announced the Code of Conduct to allow all the candidates to campaign freely and conduct the polls in a justified manner. The Code remains in force till the end of the electoral process.
Political parties and their candidates have been asked to adhre to the Code rules during their campaigning.
Here is an insight into the Model Code of Conduct released by the EC.
1. Before using loud speakers during their poll campaigning, candidates and political parties must take permission or license from the local authorites. The candidates should inform the local police for conducting election rallies to enable the police authorities to make required security arrangements.
2. The contesting candidates and their campaigners must respect the home life of their rivals and should not disturb them by holding road shows or demonstrations infront of their houses. The Code tells the candidates to keep it .
3. The election campaign rallies and road shows must not hinder the road traffic.
4. The Code has asked the candidates to refrain from distributing liquor to voters. It is a widely known fact in India that during election campaigning, liquor would be distributed to the voters.
5. The election Code in force hinders the government or ruling party leaders from launching new welfare programmes like construction of roads, provision of drinking water facilities etc. or any ribbon-cutting ceremonies.
6. The Code instructs that the public spaces like meeting grounds, helipads, government guest houses and bungalows should be equally shared among the contesing candidates. These public spaces should not be monopolised by a few candidates.
7 On the polling day, the Code asks all party candidates to cooperate to the poll-duty officials at the voting booths for an orderly voting process. Candidate should not display their election symbols near and around the poll booths on the polling day. No one should enter the booths without valid pass from the Election Commission.
8. The Code says that there will be poll observers to whom any complaints can be reported or submitted.
9. The ruling party should not use its seat of power for the campaign purposes.
10. The ruling party ministers should not make any ad-hoc appointment of officials, which may influence the voters in favour of the party in power, the Model Code of Conduct says.