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‘No references which ridicule devotee-deity relations’: EC warns parties

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NEW DELHI: The Election Commission (EC) on Friday asked the political

parties

to refrain from seeking votes based on caste, religion, and language ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha and assembly elections.
The poll body also asked the parties not to insult devotee-deity relations or make any suggestion of a divine censure.
The election panel said, unlike the previous practice of only moral censure’, stern action would be taken against parties, candidates and star campaigners violating the

Model Code of Conduct

(MCC).

The EC said that temples, mosques, churches, gurdwaras or any other place of worship should not be used for

poll propaganda

or electioneering.

“References which ridicule devotee-deity relations, or suggestions of divine censure should not be made. Temples, mosques, churches, gurdwaras or other places of worship should not be used for election propaganda or electioneering,” the Election Commission said in the advisory.
It said star campaigners, candidates who received notices in the past will face strict action in case violation of the model code is repeated.

The election body issued the advisory a few days before the model code is expected to be announced before the Lok Sabha and state polls.
The advisory comes days before the model code is expected to come into effect with the announcement of the Lok Sabha and four state assembly polls later this month,
Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar recently emphasised that political parties should foster ethical and respectful political discourse which inspires rather than divides, and promotes ideas instead of personal attacks.
The Commission’s advisory has now formally set the stage for ethical political discourse and cut clutter in the 2024 general elections, an official said, adding the methodical approach to MCC violations has prepared the ground for civilised campaigning.
The EC said parties must stick to issue-based debate, further adding that leaders should avoid making statements that lack facts and tend to mislead the voters.
The advisory also covered social media engagements and said posts in bad taste or below dignity should not to made or shared. It said posts vilifying or insulting rivals must not be made.
“Social media posts vilifying or insulting rivals, posts that are in bad taste or below dignity not to be shared,” the advisory said.
(With agencies input)

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