Polity & Governance Prelims 2021

Kamalnath Star campaigner tag seized by EC

In News:

  • The Election Commission (EC) removed Congress leader Kamal Nath from the party’s list of star campaigners for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh by-elections.

About: Star Campaigner

  • While there’s no limit on poll campaign expenditure of political parties, candidates have expenditure limits. For example, a candidate can spend a maximum of Rs 28 lakh in Delhi assembly polls.
  • However, the expenditure incurred on campaigning by the star campaigners is exempt from being added to the election expenditure of a candidate.
  • A recognised political party can have 40 star campaigners and an unrecognised (but registered) political party can have 20.
  • The list of star campaigners has to be communicated to the Chief Electoral Officer and Election Commission within a week from the date of notification of an election.

Only applicable when campaigning for party and not candidates:

  • A star campaigner’s expenditure is not added to candidate’s expenditure only when he/she does a general campaign for the political party, and not a specific candidate.
  • If a candidate or her election agent shares the stage with a star campaigner at a rally, then the entire expenditure on that rally, other than the travel expenses of the star campaigner, is added to the candidate’s expenses.
  • Even if the candidate is not present at the star campaigner’s rally, but there are posters with her photographs or her name on display, the entire expenditure will be added to the candidate’s account.
  • This applies even if the star campaigner mentions the candidate’s name during the event.
  • When more than one candidate shares the stage, or there are posters with their photographs, then the expenses of such rally/meeting are equally divided between all such candidates.

News Summary:

  • Campaigning for the upcoming Madhya Pradesh by-elections is going on full steam.
  • During the campaign, Congress leader Kamal Nath was found to be repeatedly using bad language.
  • In mid October, the Election Commission (EC) had already warned him after he violated its advisory asking political leaders not to make disrespectful statements against women.
  • However, he was found to have continued to make poor choice of words in his public utterances.
  • Now, the EC has removed Congress leader Kamal Nath from the party’s list of star campaigners for the MP by-elections.
  • EC said it was done as he was found repeatedly violating the model code with his public utterances and “breaching ethical and dignified behaviour”, while also completely disregarding its advisory.

Impact:

  • Usually, the canvassing expenses of star campaigners are borne by the respective political parties, and does not count under the election expenditure of the candidate for who a star campaigner is campaigning for.
  • Kamal Nath can still campaign but being stripped of “star campaigner” status means that the money spent on Nath’s meetings and rallies would now be added to the poll expenditure of the candidate.

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