Plaints lodged with poll authorities about possibility of such distribution

Has cable TV digitisation come as a “blessing” for political parties to win over voters?

Mysore and Bangalore are the two cities in the State where cable TV telecast has gone digital with subscribers installing set-top boxes (STB).

The Karnataka High Court, however, has asked the authorities not to discontinue analog signals to television sets in the two cities till April 5.

There are speculations here that political parties and candidates might take “undue advantage of the situation to lure voters by gifting them STBs.

Steps taken

As complaints have been lodged with the election authorities here about the possibility of STB distribution to entice voters, the District Election Officer (DEO) has taken steps to curb any such attempt as it amounts to violation of the model code of conduct in force for the Assembly elections. Polling will be held on May 5.

Deputy Commissioner C. Shikha, who is the DEO, has warned of registering cases against political parties, candidates and also the cable TV service providers if they are found distributing STBs for free to entice voters.

Ms. Shikha said in a press release here on Wednesday that complaints in this connection could be lodged by calling the District Control Room on 1077 or 0821-2423800.

Vishwanath’s charge

During the elections to the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) council in March, Mysore MP A.H. Vishwanath alleged that STBs had been distributed to households in Krishnaraja Assembly constituency. But, no formal complaint was registered with the election authorities.

A cable operator told The Hindu that any STB gifted to a subscriber would be of no use unless it is activated by the local cable TV operator. Moreover, STBs cannot be purchased in the open market as they are sold to the operators by the multi-system operators (MSOs), he said.

“There are a series of steps that need to be followed for activating digital transmission after installing the STB. This has to be done by the local operator. Therefore, without taking the respective cable operator into confidence, it’s not possible to activate STBs,” he said.

“Cable operators might not do this to favour somebody,” he claimed.