CEC bans use of SMS to track down mischievous messages

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New Delhi, Nov 16 (UNI) The Election Commission (EC) has banned the use of Short Message Services (SMS) in a move to track down mischievous messages and seeking of votes even after expiry of the election campaign period in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalswami announced today.

Addressing newsmen, Mr N Gopalaswami said the commission has taken this decision in the wake of a large number of complaints received from various quarters as well as based on the commission's past experience. He said this is a new and innovative step and is expected to bring in the desired result.

The CEC said as a result of this order the use of SMS by candidates will come to an end 48 hours before polling for the Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh Assemblies.

"The innovativeness of the human mind is endless," Mr Gopalaswami said adding this was for the first time the EC took such a step.

The imposition of the ban was announced after a meeting of the three-member Commission with the poll observers here.

The CEC said the Commission had two rounds of meeting with service providers and the move was aimed at tracking down the source of any mischievous SMS.

"There will be no bulk SMS campaign 48 hours before the polling," Mr Gopalaswami said.

The service providers also assured the Commission that they would be able to track down any such SMS within 30 minutes of getting information from the EC.

The two-phase polling in Gujarat would be held on December 11 and 16 while second and last round of polling in Himachal Pradesh is scheduled to be held on December 19.


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