Election Commission Cracks Down on Politicians’ Violations of MCC Guidelines
When politicians or candidates make remarks related to caste, religion, or money during public events, they will now face scrutiny from the Election Commission. The Election Commission has established a dedicated monitoring unit to keep tabs on social media and public meetings conducted by political leaders.
If any political leaders or candidates engage in making objectionable statements during public gatherings, the Election Commission is prepared to take suo motu action based on video evidence and complaints received.
As an increasing number of complaints pour into the Election Commission from citizens, political parties, and non-governmental organizations through social platforms, the Election Commission has been closely monitoring the speeches and presentations of political leaders during public meetings since the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) came into effect in Telangana.
For example, during a public meeting in Thorrur, K T Rama Rao, the working president of the BRS party, made remarks suggesting that people could accept money if offered by the Congress party and the BJP in the upcoming Assembly elections, but they should vote for the BRS party candidates.
Similarly, Bandi Sanjay Kumar, the BJP National General Secretary and Member of Parliament, made comments about the MIM party, implying that if the party truly cared for Muslims in the state, they should contest in all constituencies.
Following such statements by political leaders, the Election Commission issued specific MCC guidelines that all political parties and their leaders must adhere to.
According to Election Commission officials, no party or candidate should engage in activities that exacerbate existing divisions, foster mutual hatred, or create tension among different religious, caste, and linguistic communities.
The officials stated, “Criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programs, records, and work. Political parties and candidates must avoid criticizing any facets of private life that are unrelated to the public activities of leaders or workers from other parties. Avoid making criticisms of other parties or their members that rely on unverified allegations or distortions.
The Election Commission categorically stated that there should be no appeal to caste or communal sentiments to secure votes. Religious places like mosques, churches, temples, and others should not be used as platforms for election propaganda. All parties and candidates must diligently avoid activities that constitute “corrupt practices” and offenses under election law, including voter bribery, intimidation, voter impersonation, canvassing within 100 meters of polling stations, holding public meetings within 48 hours of the poll’s closing, and transporting voters to and from polling stations.
Recent Incidents of Politicians’ Remarks Amid MCC Enforcement:
On October 9, 2023, K T Rama Rao, the working president of the BRS party, suggested that people could accept money from the Congress and the BJP in the upcoming Assembly elections but should vote for the BRS party during a public meeting in Thorrur.
On October 11, 2023, BJP MP Bandi Sanjay commented that if the MIM party had the courage, they should contest across Telangana. He claimed that the party’s professed love for Muslims was insincere, even in the eyes of the Muslim community.
Guidelines Issued by the Election Commission:
No political party or candidate should allow their supporters to use private property (land, buildings, or compound walls) without permission to display flagpoles, banners, posters, or slogans.
Political parties and candidates must ensure that their supporters do not disrupt or break up events and processions organized by other parties.
Workers or supporters of one political party should not disrupt public meetings organized by another party by posing oral or written questions or by distributing their party’s leaflets.
Processions should not pass by places where other parties are holding meetings.
Workers of one party should not remove posters issued by another party.
Parties and candidates should inform local law enforcement authorities about the location and timing of any planned meetings.