 Recently, the Election Commission of India (ECI) delisted Ex-Telecom Minister A. Raja from the list of star campaigners.
 He has reprimanded for violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for making certain remarks against AIADMK leader and Chief Minister E. Palaniswami during election times.

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 A star campaigner is a celebrity vote seeker in an election for a party. This person can be a politician or even a film star. There is no law governing who can or cannot be made a star campaigner.
 They are nominated by the concerned political parties specifying their constituencies and duration of the status.
 The ECI issues guidelines under the Model Code of Conduct regulating poll campaigns.
 A ‘recognised’ National or State party declared as such by the ECI can nominate a maximum of 40 star campaigners.
 An unrecognised political party can nominate a maximum of 20 star campaigners.
 Expenditure incurred on electioneering by the star campaigner is not added to a candidate’s poll expenditure giving him/her more leeway.
 According to the Representation of People’s Act, these expenses will be borne by the political parties.
 The Election Commission keeps a tab on expenditure incurred by individual candidates during campaign Rs 70 lakh for most states (Some states has limit less than 70 lakh due to size of state)in one constituency by each candidate.
 For an individual candidate to get a relief from campaign expenditure, the star campaigner has to limit oneself to general campaigning for the party. It means star campaigner should not take name of candidate while campaigning
 If she/he shares stage with a candidate, the entire campaign cost except expenditure incurred on travelling will added to the candidate’s election expenses. This applies even if the star campaigner seeks vote for the candidate taking his or her name.

 The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is a consensus document. In other words, political parties have themselves agreed to keep their conduct during elections in check, and to work within the Code.
 The philosophy behind the MCC is that parties and candidates should show respect for their opponents, criticise their policies and programmes constructively, and not resort to mudslinging and personal attacks.
 The MCC is intended to help the poll campaign maintain high standards of public morality and provide a level playing field for all parties and candidates.
 Adherence to the Code is most important for the government or party in power, because it is they who can skew the level playing field by taking decisions that can help them in the elections.
 At the time of the Lok Sabha elections, both the Union and state governments are covered under the MCC.
 It is not a legally enforceable document, and the Commission usually uses moral sanction to get political parties and candidates to fall in line.
 The EC is now of the opinion that making the Code legally enforceable would be self-defeating because any violation must be responded to quickly — and this will not be possible if the matter goes to court.

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