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The Election Commission of India (ECI) issued an advisory to all national and state political parties, asking them to immediately cease any activities “that involve registering individuals for post-election beneficiary-oriented schemes through any advertisements/ survey/App.” The advisory came ahead of the third phase of the Lok Sabha Elections 2024, slated for May 7.

The Election Commission took “serious view of activities by political parties and candidates seeking details of voters under the guise of various surveys for their proposed beneficiary schemes”. The poll body termed such activities as “corrupt practice of bribery under Section 123(1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951”.

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The Election Commission noted: “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.”

Quid-pro-quo

Highlighting the possible “quid-pro-quo arrangement”, the Election Commission said the act of inviting or calling upon voters to register for post-election benefits “may create an impression of the requirement of one-to-one transactional relationship between the elector and the proposed benefit”

This also has the potential to generate quid-pro-quo arrangement for voting in a particular way thereby leading to inducement, the poll body added. It added that the potential of quid pro quo for voting and inducements amounts to bribery/corrupt practice.

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In this regard, the Election 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) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

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The Election Commission’s advisory came amid the ongoing Lok Sabha Elections 2024. The first phase of the polling was held on April 19 and the second phase of voting happened on April 26. Now, the third phase will take place on May 7. The elections are happening across the country in seven phases. The results for the Lok Sabha Elections will be declared on June 4.

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Published: 02 May 2024, 04:17 PM IST

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