During the announcement of the complete schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019, Model Code of Conduct was introduced and brought into effect. Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines released by Election Commission. It ensures that the polls are fair and free from any biases. This means that if a party violates the code, a complaint can be filed under the IPC and CrPC. Model Code of Conduct deals with eight provisions- general conduct, meetings, processions, polling day, polling booths, observers, the party in power, and election manifestos.
Under the general conduct, the political parties can criticize each other based on their work record, policies and programmes but they cannot use caste and communal sentiments to attract the voters. Also, they cannot criticize the other party based on unverified reports, nor can they bribe the voters.
Talking about the second provision-meetings, it is mandatory for the political parties to inform the local police about the public meetings or rallies so that they can arrange for adequate security on time. In case two rival parties arrange a road show in the same area, their routes must not clash. Moreover, carrying or burning effigies of the opposing party is not allowed.
On the polling day, the workers working for their respective parties at the polling booth should mandatorily wear a badge with party name and symbol. Apart from the voters, only those who have the permit from the Election Commission will be allowed to enter the polling booths.
There are certain restrictions for the ruling party during the elections. The ruling party can not advertise using national treasury. It must also not use official mass media to promote their achievements. No Minister or Member of Parliament from the ruling party is allowed to combine his official visit with campaigning. They should also not announce any financial grants or promise any construction of roads, provision of drinking water etc prior to elections. The ruling party cannot create a monopoly. The opposition parties must be allowed to use public spaces. These restrictions were enforced in 1979 and are applicable for both the Centre and State.
However, the candidates have violated the restrictions in the past. Aam Aadmi Party holds the record of highest number of EC code violations with 97 FIRs registered. AAP is followed by BJP with 79 FIRs and Congress with 67. During the Gujarat Assembly polls held in 2017, an FIR was filed against PM Modi where he repeated his 2014 signature move and flashed his inked finger and waved to thousands of people gathered outside the polling booth.