Some may opt for it to escape summer heat; but it will affect privacy of people at home, says a resident

The rules may not prohibit door-to-door poll campaign after 10 p.m. But many in Madurai are not welcome to the idea.

People who laud the Election Commission for having put a strict election code of conduct in place point out that not banning door-to-door campaign after 10 p.m. will intrude on their privacy. The Election Commission had indicated that law prohibited campaign using loudspeakers, processions and public meetings after 10 p.m. Those who indulge in door-to-door campaign after the time limit could be booked under the general laws of the Indian Penal Code, the authorities had said.

“People return home from work and take rest after 10 p.m. Besides, intruding on our privacy, late night campaign will facilitate money distribution,” said D. Santhoshkumar, a cashier at a food outlet in K.K. Nagar.

His colleague, R. Kanagaraj, added that the strict regulations enforced by the Election Commission are laudable. “There is no possibility for candidates or their supporters to bribe voters right now. Permitting them to visit households for campaign at night will help them bribe voters,” he cautioned.

Unwelcome

Any candidate visiting her house at night for campaign will be an unwelcome guest, said M. Devi, a stall keeper at Pudu Mandapam. “I reach home late at night. After a tiring day at work, all I look forward to will be some proper rest before rising early for another day’s work. Unknown people knocking on our door at night will create panic. Election campaigns should not be permitted after 10 p.m.,” she said.

Quiet time needed

N. Dhandayuthapani, a pharmacist, said: “Most people return home from work after 7 p.m. and they may want to spend some quiet time with their families. Students preparing for examinations may not be able to study well if candidates keep visiting their place,” he said.

Bank officer S. Revathi said, “We should think about families that have infants, elderly and sick people. Disturbing them after 10 p.m. will not be appropriate. What is there that candidates will have to say at night that they do not say the whole day at public meetings?”

According to advocate C. Arun, the election code prohibits only public meetings and loudspeaker use after 10 p.m. “This way, we can assume that candidates cannot be stopped from campaigning door to door. The High Court is being considerate that there should be no disturbance to students preparing for examinations and has been refusing permission for cultural programmes during temple festivals to continue after 10 p.m.,” he said, and added that permitting late night campaigns will defeat the objective of the court order.

“Even if election authorities and revenue officials are vigilant, money disbursal at night cannot be stopped. Some candidates may also opt for late night campaigns to escape the summer heat. But it may not be a good idea since it will affect privacy of public,” he opined.

“Personally, I am not for campaigning after 10 p.m. It will affect the privacy of the people and facilitate illegal cash transfer. Already, the public are facing the issue of power cuts at night. Late night campaigns will be a disturbance,” said Bharathi Kannamma, a transgender activist, who is contesting as an independent candidate. “The candidates also campaign for long hours in the sun and we need proper rest before starting our campaign the next day. We should let people sleep in peace and should refrain from disturbing them,” she added.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA R. Annadurai said, “Campaigns should not be permitted after 10 p.m. Illegal transfer of cash is rampant at night and the power cuts will also make things easy for cash disbursal.”

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