New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has made it mandatory for candidates contesting in the Lok Sabha Elections 2019 to advertise their criminal antecedents in TV and newspapers at least three times during electioneering.

As per the Election Commission‘s directive, political parties will have to give ‘publicity’ to the criminal records of candidates fielded by them. Candidates and parties contesting the election will have to push their criminal records at least on three different dates in widely circulated newspapers and popular TV channels during campaigning.

It must be noted that candidates who do not have any criminal record will have to mention that. Candidates will also have to fill up an amended form (number 26) and inform parties about the cases impending against them. The EC has said that parties will have to oblige and put the information about the candidates on their websites. (Read: Lok Sabha Elections 2019 State-wise Schedule: Check When Your State is Voting)

The EC has strictly said that parties which fail to comply, will have to face the prospect of getting their recognition withdrawn or suspended.

Candidates are also required to furnish details of their social media accounts and share their expenditure on social media ads.

This is for the first time that this rule will be followed during the Lok Sabha polls although the directions in this regard were issued on October 10, 2018.

The Lok Sabha Elections 2019 will begin on April 11 and will be held in seven phases, the Election Commission announced on Sunday. The model code of conduct came into immediate effect from March 10 itself and the counting of votes will take place on May 23, 2019.

The term of the present Lok Sabha ends on June 3. The required electronic voting machines (EVMs) and paper trail machines or the VVPATs are in place and will be deployed in nearly 10 lakh polling stations across 543 Lok Sabha constituencies.

The first phase of polling will be held on April 11, the second phase on April 18, third phase on April 23, fourth phase on April 29, fifth phase on May 6, sixth phase on May 12 and seventh phase on May 19.