No interviews before polling: EC directs politicians


NEW DELHI, March 17, 2019: The Election Commission on Saturday asked leaders of all political parties to not give any media interviews during the "silence period", or 48 hours before start of polling when campaigning comes to end.

"During the silence period, star campaigners and other political leaders should refrain from addressing the media by way of press conferences and giving interviews on election matters," the poll panel said in an advisory.

A controversy had broken out during the Gujarat Assembly elections in 2017 when Congress President Rahul Gandhi gave interviews to some regional TV channels a day ahead of the polling.

The Congress had hit back by pointing out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi organised a road show a day before polling.

The EC has also cautioned campaigners to not make any reference to a constituency where the silence period is being observed.

"In a multi-phased election, the silence period of last 48 hours may be on in certain constituencies while campaign is ongoing in other constituencies. In such event, there should not be any direct or indirect reference amounting to soliciting support for parties or candidates in the constituencies observing the silence period," it said.

The poll panel underlined that Section 126 of the Representation of People Act, 1951, "inter-alia prohibits election campaign activities through public meetings, processions etc, and displaying of election matter by means of television and similar apparatus".

"The purpose sought to be served by this prohibition is to provide a period of tranquil (silence period) for the electors before the voting day," it said.