There will be 2 debates in Telugu - each 90 minutes duration.
There will be a low-profile moderator to conduct them. The moderator will be finalized in consultation with both the leaders.
In each debate, each of the two participants will have 2 minutes' time for an opening statement, and 1 minute for closing statement. The order will be decided by the draw of lots.
The questions will be put to each participant alternately, and each of them will be facing equal number of questions. The order - who will face the first question - will be decided by draw of lots in advance.
For each question, the leader facing it will have 90 seconds to answer; his opponent will have 60 seconds to counter it, and there will be 30 seconds time to the first leader to defend his position. Identical procedure will be followed in respect of the questions put to the other participant.
In the first debate, the moderator will ask questions prepared in advance by a panel of eminent persons. The questions will be kept secret until the debate. There will be in all 24 questions in the first debate - 12 questions addressed to each leader.
The moderator will merely ask the questions, and will not pass any judgement whatsoever on the answers. His role is strictly limited to two aspects:
- rigid control of time allotted to the two leaders.
- Observance of strict code of conduct - the leaders will address the audience and viewers, and not each other; there shall be no mutual recrimination.
There will be a limited, invited audience drawn from all sections.
The debates will be telecast by all channels live, or if satellite unlinking cannot be arranged, there will be simultaneous telecast of the unedited, prerecorded debate by all channels.
The second debate - also for 90 minutes - will consist of questions from the invited audience. The questions posed by the audience will be kept secret from the moderator and the leaders until they are asked.
The invited audience will be asked to give their questions in writing shortly before the second debate, and a panel of eminent persons and a panel of eminent persons and journalists will screen them and select 24 questions on the following criteria:
- equal number addressed to both leaders - 12 each.
- Elimination of duplication and overlap.
- Clarity and brevity of the question.
- No recrimination and objectionable language in the question.
The moderator will be given the names of members of the audience and the order of
their asking questions. As the moderator reads out the names in order, they will
briefly ask the question. The responses by the leaders will be as in the first debate.