Who is a star campaigner?

The Election Commission (EC) of India, recently revoked the status of a star campaigner for his part on a congress leader Kamal Nath in the ongoing  Assembly by-polls in the State of Madhya Pradesh. On that context, The leader moved to the supreme court against the EC.

Highlights

The election commision revoked the status because of repeated violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by him. Further, he completely disregarded the advisory that was issued to him. The leader had violated the norms regarding the expenditure. It is the usual business that the expenditure of star campaigners’ events, travel and stay is borne by the party. It is not added to the candidate’s spending, which is limited.

Who is a Star campaigner?

Star campaigner are the people nominated by parties to campaign in a given set of constituencies. They are usually the prominent and popular faces within the party. The EC of India has not provided any specific definition of a “star campaigner”. A recognised political party can have maximum of 40 star campaigners while an unrecognised but registered political party can at maximum have 20 star campaigners. The list of star campaigners is  communicated to the Chief Electoral Officer and Election Commission within a week from the date of notification of an election.

Who borne the expenditure by Star campaigner?

The expenditure on rally and travel by the star campaigner is borne by the candidate in following manner:

  • If a candidate or her election agent share the stage with a star campaigner in a rally.
  • If there are posters of star campaigner with photographs or name on display of the candidates.
  • When the star campaigner mentions the candidate’s name during the event.
  • In case, there are more than one candidate sharing the stage, or there are posters with their photographs, then the expenses are equally divided among all such candidates.

Provisions related to star campaigner status

Section 77(1) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 contains the Guidelines for Star Campaigners. It is issued by the Election Commission, from time to time. The guidelines make selection or revocation of ‘star campaigners’ the special rights of the political party.