New Delhi: The Election Commission has made it compulsory for candidates contesting polls to advertise their criminal antecedents in TV and newspapers at least three times during electioneering.
Though directions in this regard were issued on October 10, 2018, the rule will be used for the first time in this Lok Sabha election, scheduled to be held from April 11 to May 19. The results will be announced on May 23.
According to the directions, political parties too will have to give publicity to the criminal records of candidates fielded by them. This means that candidates and parties contesting the election will have to publicise their criminal records at least on three different dates in widely circulated newspapers and popular TV channels during the campaign period.
Candidates who do not have records have to mention that. The candidates will now have to fill up an amended form (number 26). They will have to inform parties about their antecedents such as cases in which they have been convicted and cases pending against them.
The parties, the EC said, will be "obliged" to put the information about the candidates on their websites.
Though the EC direction is silent on whether the candidates will have to pay from their pocket for the publicity, a senior functionary said since it's a poll-related expenditure, the candidates will have to bear the cost.
Parties which fail to comply, face the prospects of getting their recognition withdrawn or suspended.
Candidates have to submit clippings of their declaration published in papers and parties have to submit details about the number of such candidates in a state.