HYDERABAD: Peeved by a Short Messaging Service (SMS) in circulation across the State, the Congress party has petitioned the Election Commission to prevent the Telugu Desam Party from resorting to a negative campaign.

The party said the SMS used malicious words and made sweeping remarks that would undermine the very democratic system as well as the laws framed by Parliament to ensure a free and fair electoral process.

A Congress delegation led by M. A. Khan, MP, K. Janardhan Reddy and R. Padmaraju, MLCs, met Chief Electoral Officer I.V. Subba Rao on Tuesday and submitted him a memorandum drawing his attention to the offending SMS which said: “In our State our lives and properties are under threat, we have to stop looting by the corrupt Government.

Elections are coming we have to make right choice. Save Andhra Pradesh.”

The Congress leaders maintained that such message amounted to interference with the electoral right and exercise of franchise by a voter.

Intimidation

It also amounted to intimidation, coercion and undue influence on voters at large. They reasoned that if such parties were allowed to do the same, the entire electoral process and democracy would be a mockery and hence they are liable to be punished.

They stated that as per the Election Commission guidelines, any campaign indicating such type of messages should be brought before the Commission.

They sought action against those persons, who issued these messages, the message centre and those with whose wilful consent they were issued.