Explained: What election manifestos must do, why they matter

News:With Assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra, the political parties have published its Election Manifestos.


About Election manifestos:

  • A manifesto is a published declaration of intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government.
  • In India,Election manifestos are not legally enforceable documents. There is no provision in law under which political parties could be held liable for not fulfilling promises made in their election manifestos.

Guidelines:The rules issued by the Election Commission in 2013 on election manifestos in the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) are:

  • The election manifesto shall not contain anything repugnant to the ideals enshrined in the Constitution.
  • Political parties should avoid making promises which are likely to vitiate the purity of the election process or exert undue influence on the voters in exercising their franchise.
  • It is expected that manifestos also reflect the rationale for the promises and broadly indicate the ways and means to meet the financial requirements for it.

Prohibitory period:

  • In case of single-phase election manifesto shall not be released during the prohibitory period as prescribed under Section 126 of The Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • In the case of multi-phase elections manifesto shall not be released during the prohibitory periods of all the phases of those elections.

Additional information:

About Representation of the People(RP) Act,1951:

  • The Representation of the People Act,1951 is an act of Parliament of India.
  • The act provides (a)the conduct of elections of the Houses of Parliament and the House of the Legislature of each State (b)the qualifications and disqualifications for membership of those Houses and (c)the corrupt practices,decisions,doubts and disputes arising in connection with such elections.

Section 126 of RP Act,1951:

  • Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act,1951 imposes election silence period which prohibits any form of election campaign in the last 48 hours leading up to voting.It gives voters a peaceful condition to consider and make a final decision on their vote.