Mar 11, 2022

5 things you didn’t know about elections in India

The campaigning for the first phase of the Bihar Assembly Elections will end today evening. A total of 71 assembly constituencies spread over 16 districts in Bihar will go to polls in the first phase of elections on October 28. So, what activities are allowed/not allowed in the 2 days (48 hours) before the voting day?

  1. The silence period

In the period of 48 hours (2 days) before voting day, all election related campaigning stops – this is called the silence period. This applies to both State and General (for example, Lok Sabha) elections. No one – citizens, journalists, candidates, election agents, movie actors, theatre artists, etc. –  is allowed to do election-related campaigning during this period.

If candidates or political parties campaign during this 48-hour period, they can be punished with imprisonment of up to 2 years and/or a fine.

  1. Holding public meetings

From 48 hours before the day of voting, the law prohibits any public meetings which discuss elections through:

  • Musical concerts
  • Theatrical performances
  • Processions
  • Other forms of entertainment

No person can hold, attend or address any public meetings which are in connection with elections during the 2 days before the day of voting.

  1. Advertisements

During the silence period, advertisements, sponsored programmes or reports which support or criticize a candidate in order to influence the election cannot be broadcasted on the television or radio. However, general events relating to a political party can be broadcasted as long as they do not influence the public in any manner

  1. Ban on liquor

There is a ban on liquor for the 48 hours before elections, and the 2 days before voting are dry days. The law requires all liquor shops to be closed 48 hours before the date of polling to prevent consumption, distribution of alcohol and bribing of voters. States are responsible for making sure that the liquor shops around neighbouring constituencies are also closed.

  1. Ban on loudspeakers

There is a ban on loudspeakers during the silence period i.e., 48 hours prior to the date of polling. Loudspeakers cannot be fitted on any vehicles, buildings, etc., and if anyone does this, it is a violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC). Even after the 48 hours are over, proper permissions have to be taken from the District Administration to use loudspeakers.

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