'Cancel Cooch Behar Visit As it Violates Model Code': Election Commission To Bengal Governor

In its advice, the Election Commission pointed out that the first phase of the election is due on April 19 and with the imposition of the 48-hour silence period from this evening, the visit will violate the Model Code of Conduct.

'Cancel Cooch Behar Visit As it Violates Model Code': Election Commission To Bengal Governor

NEW DELHI: In a significant development, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has directed West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose to cancel his upcoming visit to North Bengal's Cooch Behar, scheduled for April 18 and 19. The directive was issued on the grounds that the visit would violate the Model Code of Conduct currently in effect.

ECI's Advisory To Bengal Governor

The Election Commission advised Governor Ananda Bose against proceeding with his scheduled visit, citing the impending first phase of elections slated for April 19. With the commencement of the 48-hour silence period starting this evening, the Commission stressed that any official visit during this time would contravene the Model Code of Conduct. In its communication to the governor's office, the ECI emphasized the prohibition against organizing local programs for dignitaries, including the Honorable Governor, on poll days as per the Model Code of Conduct.

Ensuring Election Integrity

Highlighting the imperative of upholding the sanctity of elections, the Commission reiterated its standard protocol that mandates the departure of VIPs, leaders, and political personnel who are not constituents of the concerned constituency once the silent period begins. This measure aims not only to uphold the principles of free and fair elections but also to alleviate the burden on security forces tasked with ensuring the safety and security of visiting dignitaries.

Model Code Of Conduct: Why it Is Important?

The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comprises eight provisions delineating guidelines about various aspects of election conduct, including general behaviour, conduct during meetings and processions, polling day regulations, management of polling booths, the appointment of observers, the conduct of the party in power, and election manifestos.

Among its stipulations, the MCC explicitly prohibits ministers from blending official visits with election-related activities or utilizing official machinery for partisan purposes. Furthermore, it mandates that the ruling party refrain from leveraging government resources such as transport or machinery for campaign purposes. Additionally, the MCC mandates equitable access to public spaces and facilities for election-related activities, ensuring a level playing field for all political entities.

Preventing Misuse Of Public Resources

To curb potential misuse of public resources for electoral gains, the MCC prohibits the ruling dispensation from undertaking ad-hoc appointments in government or public sector entities that could unduly influence voters. Moreover, expenditures on advertisements at the expense of the public exchequer are deemed violations of electoral norms.