A party or candidate cannot campaign in any manner which would result in creating tension or hatred between different castes and religious communities.
The MCC does not allow anyone or any organization to use religion to further the prospects of a candidate or a political party during an election, irrespective of their relationship to the political party/individual candidate. For example, political parties, candidates, religious/cultural organizations, associations or individuals cannot campaign in favour of or against certain political parties or candidate by holding any meetings, conclaves, processions, religious congregations, etc.
Some of the actions that are prohibited are1:
- No one can use religion and play on religious sentiments of voters.
- No one can ask for votes by influencing someone to believe that there is a religious punishment by god or a divine power which will occur to them, if they don’t vote for a particular candidate.(Section 123(3), Representation of the People Act, 1951.))
- No one should use religion to create disharmony among different groups of people.2
- No one should make any malicious statements which would attack the personal life of any politician.3
- Temples, mosques, churches and other places of worship cannot be used for any election campaigning.
Some examples of violations of MCC by using religion for campaigning are:
- If pictures of politicians are put up on billboards outside the temple entrance.
- If money is given by a political party to beggars outside a temple to get votes.
- Model Code of Conduct, Election Commission of India, available at eci.gov.in.
- Section 153A, Indian Penal Code (IPC); Section 125, Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- Section 123(4), Representation of the People Act, 1951.