12, Mar 2022 | CJP Team
In a shocking display of impunity, an advertisement of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appeared on the front page of Dainik Jagran, a popular Hindi newspaper, on March 7, 2022, the last day of polling for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections. This is a clear violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) of the Election Commission of India (ECI). Therefore, CJP has written to the ECI as well as the UP State Election Commission (SEC) to bring this blatant violation to their attention, and demanded action against the same.
The complaint states that the publication of the said advertisement does not only violate the MCC issued by the ECI, but also constitutes offences as per the provisions of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951. Moreover, it also goes against the guidelines of the Press Council of India.
The complaint brings to the attention of the Commissions, how a political advertisement on a poll has the potential to alter people’s perceptions and their voting behaviour even if it is at the very last moment. It further states that inaction against the party in power, poses a threat to democracy, and brazenly mocks the conduct of free and fair electoral process.
Moreover, as per the Guidelines of the Press Council of India, the letter invokes the obligation of the press to scrupulously avoid publishing political advertisements, especially those designed to further the prospects of the party in power, during the election period.
For a better understanding of the gravity and implications of the said publication, it even compares the impact of a front-page political ad in print media on the day of polling to that of publication of exit poll results before the end of all phases of the election.
Therefore, considering the dangers of paid news, CJP wrote a letter to both Commissions on March, 10, 2022, asking them to call out such corrupt and electoral malpractice and requesting them to take strict action against the BJP.
The complaint may be read here: