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02/05/24 | 5:56 pm

ECI directs all political parties to cease enrolling, registering voters for post-election beneficiary-oriented schemes

The ECI has taken a serious view of activities by political parties and candidates seeking details of voters under the guise of various surveys for their proposed beneficiary schemes, as a corrupt practice of bribery under Section 123(1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

It has noted that “some political parties and candidates have been engaging in activities that blur the lines between legitimate surveys and partisan efforts to register individuals for post-election beneficiary-oriented schemes.”

The Commission, acknowledging that “generic and general electoral promises are in the realm of permissibility,” noted that such activities obscure the distinction between authentic surveys and biased attempts to enroll people in programs for political gain, all while masquerading as legitimate survey activities or efforts to inform about government programs or party agendas related to potential individual benefits.

The Commission directed all District Election Officers to take appropriate actions against any such advertisements within the statutory provisions, namely Section 127A of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951, 123 (1) of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951, and Section 171 (B) IPC.

“The newspaper advertisements call upon individual voters to register themselves for benefits by giving missed calls on a mobile or calling on a telephone number,” it added.

The poll body further mentioned the distribution of guarantee cards in the form of pamphlets giving details of prospective individual benefits along with an attached form asking for details of voters such as name, age, address, mobile number, booth number, constituency name, and number, etc.

“Distribution of forms seeking details of voters such as name, ration card number, address, phone number, booth number, bank account number, constituency name & number, etc., in the name of a socio-economic survey of prospective beneficiaries for expanding an ongoing government individual benefit scheme,” it added.

The Commission stated that the circulation or propagation of web platforms or web/mobile applications by political parties/candidates seeking details of voters such as name, address, phone number, booth number, constituency name, and number, etc. (This may or may not have an invitation for availing individual benefits or revealing their voting preference).

Newspaper advertisements or physical forms regarding existing individual benefit schemes along with registration forms seeking details of the voter such as name, husband/father’s name, contact number, address, etc., it added.

Lok Sabha elections are being held in seven phases till June 1, and votes will be counted on June 4.


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