Election Commission bans political bulk SMSes 48 hrs prior to polling

'Ban on political bulk SMSes'
New Delhi, Nov 8: Delhi Election Commission on Friday directed all mobile service providers to stop "political" bulk SMS services 48 hours before the Assembly election to ensure that parties do not influence voters during this period.

The Commission will also keep a close tab on bulk SMSes circulated by various political parties in the run-up to the assembly polls to ensure that they do not entice voters or violate the Model Code of Conduct.

Operators have been directed to inform the Election Commission about bulk SMS bookings by political parties so that the money spent in this regard is properly accounted for and added into the expenditure account of the respective political party or candidate.

A meeting in this regard was organised today by the Commission with all major mobile service providers. "We have asked mobile service providers to ensure that they do not send bulk messages booked by political parties 48 hours before polling. This has been done to ensure that they do not influence voters just before the election," Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev said.

EC: Ban to ensure that parties don't influence voters before polls

As far as content-monitoring of messages is concerned, an officer of Delhi Police Special Cell has been appointed as nodal officer. "The officer's duty is to ensure that there is no violation of Model Code of Conduct," Special Chief Electoral Officer Shurbir Singh said.

Mobile service providers have also been asked to ensure that SIM cards are not issued to people without proper verification.

"Generally, it has been noticed that the volume of sale of SIM cards goes up just before elections and the numbers bought on fake identities are used for intimidation or other anti-social purposes.

"Service providers will have to ensure that pre-activated SIM cards are not sold in the market. If any such instance comes to our notice, action will not only be taken against the dealer or the vendor, but also against the company," he said.


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