The initiative taken up by the Election Commission to keep a watch on contestants is giving jitters to them. Election officials are sending SMSes to people requesting them to inform about any malpractices by contestants, through an SMS to phone number 87904 99899. People can also lodge complaints about incidents pertaining to distribution of liquor, money and gifts to voters. Such is the seriousness that EC is sending these messages to people even at midnight. Now, this is called making best use of technology even if it means giving sleepless nights to contestants and the voters as well!

Paid news query startles RO

It was a programme organised by a Returning Officer (RO) with candidates contesting elections in an Assembly constituency about the do’s and don’ts to be followed by them during elections.

The RO gave a detailed presentation about the procedure for obtaining permission for use of campaign vehicles, organising processions etc. After listening keenly, a candidate out of ignorance asked the RO “Sir is there any procedure to obtain permission for publishing paid news articles in media?” The startled RO smiled and replied that there was no such provision.

Chiru sets the agenda

It was a sort of gag on the media imposed by Congress leader Chiranjeevi. Representatives of television channels were taken aback when they were snubbed by the ‘mega star’. He told the media personnel that it was a ‘press conference’ (which he addressed in the city on Saturday) and not a ‘meet-the-press’ suggesting that they could not dictate the agenda to him. This happened when the reporters almost shouted down BJP leader Anumolu Gandhi who started lecturing after joining the Congress in Mr. Chiranjeevi’s presence. Mr. Gandhi was asked to speak for a few minutes but he ‘grabbed the opportunity’ to pose with Chiranjeevi much to the discomfiture of the media personnel.

Playing the ‘family’ card

Come elections, the contestants leave no stone unturned to meet the voters and sometimes they go to places where the number of voters may not be many. For Congress leader Akula Srinivas Kumar, contesting from Vijayawada West constituency, the summer swimming camp for children at Aqua Devils Welfare Association near Sitanagaram came handy on Sunday. Though the 200-odd children were below 15 years, the politician, armed with pamphlets and party flag, took the opportunity to address the parents and members emphatically claiming that he was their ‘family-member’.

Indifferent peers

Call it poor manners or lack of interest. The students, present at the Sujana Foundation awards, hardly responded when their pals received awards from the chief guest. Peeved organisers repeatedly reminded the gathering that it was an occasion to celebrate and take inspiration from their accomplished peers and exhorted them to cheer by putting their hands together. Vexed with the indifference from the gathering, the organiser said, “I think there is need to hire people to clap.” Ironically, even after that comment there was hardly any response from the students!

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