Electoral Reforms In India

Who is a Star Campaigner?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Star campaigner

Mains level: Election expenditure and associated issues

The Election Commission (EC) has revoked the status of a veteran leader and former Madhya Pradesh CM as a star campaigner for the party.

Try answering this question:

Q.Ceiling on election expenses ends up being counterproductive and encourages candidates to under-report their expenditure. Critically analyse.

Who is a 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.

Their purpose

  • 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.

How much does a star campaigner cost?

  • 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.
  • For example, expenses borne by star campaigners on account of travel by air or by any other means of transport shall not be deemed as expenditure in connection with the election.
  • The manual to the Model Code of Conduct states that for the benefit of availing Section 77 (1) of The RP Act, a permit for the mode of transport for every star campaigner will be issued centrally and against their name.
  • It is also mandatory for this permit to be stuck on a prominent and visible place on the vehicle.

A case for PMs

  • The MCC states that if the star campaigner is a PM or a former PM, then expenses incurred for bullet-proof vehicles required by centrally appointed security personnel will be borne by the government.
  • If another political dignitary accompanies this candidate, then 50 per cent of expenses incurred for security arrangements will be borne by the candidate.

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