The climate is continuously churning up such unforeseen scenarios in the wind that the present situation of general affairs in India is quite unpredictable. 2019, the year of decision, the year of the people, the time for an appraisal of prior performance. 2019, that time of the political timeline in Indian politics when fortunes will be rapidly changing sides for all and sundry. Finally, the time for the people has come to pass on their verdict. The graduation day for handling the state of affairs for the assigned tenure has approached again. And with the arrival of 2019, the time has arrived at the doorstep as well. 2019 heralds the beginning of the poll season.
Lok Sabha Elections will be deciding the future of Indian politics, one of the largest democracies in the world. With three months already into the year, standing in the month of March 2019, preparations are in full swing. All the political parties are canvassing their agenda for the upcoming election for all Indian citizens. This is to ensure people cast their vote for their choice of people’s representative to power. Thereby giving the demands and appeals of the masses a voice in the Lok Sabha house of the Indian Parliament.
The above-mentioned scenario has set the premise for the upcoming elections. The heat in the air surrounding it becoming stronger. The Election Commission on 10th March 2019, announced dates for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. They have also released a documented Model Code of Conduct for all contesting candidates. So, in this digital age and time, it is understood that canvassing by political parties is no longer limited or restricted to the traditional or conventional forms of publicity and communication.
Social Media has proven how critical and instrumental it can be in creating a viral impact on sensational news within a momentary span of time. Past precedents stand testimony in witnessing how fake news has been created and spread on social media to create disruption in harmony and peace in the past. Hence, with a view to curtail and monitor usage and communication by political units on their Social media channels and curb nature of content circulated by the contesting candidates on their official Social Media handles, the Election Commission has published a set of guidelines that has been shared with all the concerned individuals. Therefore, the stage is getting more and more volatile.
In accordance with the guidelines in the prescription, candidates require to follow some statutory procedures. This is to ensure the transparency of political parties on Social Media. Candidates will be declaring the complete information of their official social media accounts at the time of filing nominations. Furthermore, their activities on WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Google, and other social media must remain publicly visible. The furnished details would then be subject to further investigation and scrutiny by the Election Commission for ensuring adherence to prescribed behaviour and acceptance to protocol. Hence, this is an exemplary incident in the history of Indian politics. For the first time, the law is compelling the political parties to ensure that their social media accounts are decent. The activities must conform and reflect the official guidelines for “acceptable behavior” by a contesting representative.