News: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the October 30 order of the Election Commission (EC) revoking the ‘star campaigner’ status of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath.
Section 77(1) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 read with Guidelines for Star Campaigners issued by the Election Commission, from time to time, makes selection/revocation of ‘star campaigners’ the sole prerogative of the political party.
About Star Campaigner:
A star campaigner can be described as persons who are nominated by parties to campaign in a given set of constituencies.
These persons are, in almost all cases, prominent and popular faces within the party.
There is no specific definition according to law or the Election Commission of India.
Star campaigners for a party will not exceed 40 where it is a recognised political party.
For parties that are deemed unrecognized, the number of star campaigners will not be more than 20.
Actors, celebrities and senior political party members are the ones who are nominated to be star campaigners.
This is based on the premise that a popular face, someone that the common voter can immediately identify and side with, can rake in more votes for that political party.
Section 77 (b) of The Representation of People’s Act, 1951 says that most of the expenses incurred by the campaigner “shall not be deemed to be an expenditure in connection with the election”. In other words, all expenses will be borne by the respective political party.
About Representation of the People Act, 1951:
The Representation of the People Act, 1951 is an act of Parliament of India to provide for the conduct of election of the Houses of Parliament and to the House or Houses of the Legislature of each State, the qualifications and disqualifications for membership of those Houses, the corrupt practices and other offences at or in connection with such elections and the decision of doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with such elections.
It was introduced in Parliament by law minister Dr. B.R. Ambedkar.
The Act was enacted by the provisional parliament under Article 327 of Indian Constitution, before the first general election.
About Recognized Parties:
The Election Commission lists political parties as “national party”, “state party” or “registered (unrecognised) party”.
The conditions for being listed as a national or a state party are specified under the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
A party has to satisfy any one of a number of these conditions.
For recognition as a NATIONAL PARTY, the conditions specified are:
a 6% vote share in the last Assembly polls in each of any four states, as well as four seats in the last Lok Sabha polls; or
2% of all Lok Sabha seats in the last such election, with MPs elected from at least three states; or
recognition as a state party in at least four states.
For recognition as a STATE PARTY, any one of five conditions needs to be satisfied:
two seats plus a 6% vote share in the last Assembly election in that state; or
one seat plus a 6% vote share in the last Lok Sabha election from that state; or
3% of the total Assembly seats or 3 seats, whichever is more; or
one of every 25 Lok Sabha seats (or an equivalent fraction) from a state; or
an 8% state-wide vote share in either the last Lok Sabha or the last Assembly polls.
Benefits of such recognition
The biggest advantage of being recognized is getting the reserved symbol. A party recognized as a state party gets a reserved symbol within the state.
For National Parties, the reserved symbol can be used across the country by its contesting candidates. This is one the biggest advantages since symbol plays a very important role in elections.
There are also other advantages to the recognized parties like subsidized land for party offices, free air time on Doordarshan & All India Radio, supply of electoral roll copies free of cost during elections etc.
2. RED SANDERS
News: The SUV was allegedly involved in the illegal ferrying of red sanders logs, and the four persons in it were woodcutters from Tamil Nadu. They were overspeeding after sensing police movement. The SUV had taken a detour to avoid the police, but crashed straight into the tipper. Fire engulfed the vehicle as soon as it hit the tipper’s diesel tank. Rajan, Ramachandran, Kathiravan and Muthaiah were charred to death. The fire intensified after another car collided with the SUV from behind. The third vehicle was an escort in the operation.
About Red Sanders:
Pterocarpus santalinus, with the common names red sanders, is a species found in the southern Eastern Ghats mountain range of South India.
This tree is valued for the rich red colour of its wood.
The wood is not aromatic. The tree is not to be confused with the aromatic Santalum sandalwood trees that grow natively in South India.
It is a light-demanding small tree, growing to 8 metres (26 ft) tall with a trunk 50–150 cm diameter.
It is fast-growing when young, reaching 5 metres (16 ft) tall in three years, even on degraded soils.
It is not frost tolerant, being killed by temperatures of −1 °C.
Pterocarpus santalinus was listed as an Endangered species by the IUCN, because of overexploitation for its timber in South India; however, it was later reclassified to Near Threatened in 2018, as the scale of this loss is not properly known.