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Pomp may be missing, but money is saved

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CLEAN: The walls along the Melapudur Underpass, a popular canvas for wall writings in Tiruchi in the past, sport a clean look during this election. —
CLEAN: The walls along the Melapudur Underpass, a popular canvas for wall writings in Tiruchi in the past, sport a clean look during this election. —

Syed Muthahar Saqaf

Thanks to the strict enforcement of model code of conduct

TIRUCHI: Though the people could not witness the usual pomp and splendour of election this time, thanks to the strict enforcement of code of conduct, they are happy that much money, which would have been wasted in the name of electioneering, is saved.

Even as political parties are gearing up for the May 13 polling in the central districts, campaigning never picked up due to the vigil of the authorities and the drawn-out campaign period. The campaigning proved a tough exercise for the candidates as well as cadres, who complain that they had to face several odds and were not given a free hand. “The strict vigil on the use of vehicles, display of hoardings, wall paintings etc, was not to our liking”, a cross section of the campaign managers of the candidates say.

The central districts did not witness much political activity during the two-month campaign period, except when Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi visited Tiruchi city.

The local authorities and the Election Commission observers closely followed the activities of the candidates of the major political parties and the dictates issued to them time and again on the election expenses put them in a tight corner from the beginning.

“The Election Commission meant business. We did not mince words to inform this to the candidates and their supporters,” according to an official involved in the poll duty.

The restriction on the use of banners, party flags and festoons have affected traders. Those engaged in making cutouts and party symbols and the painters have also felt the pinch. Information pertaining to the removal of hoardings and code violations have to be dispatched to the Election Commission immediately and this has made the officials to be more cautious and not to be lethargic.

The above restrictions have forced the candidates to change their style of campaigning. The candidates have desisted from lavish spending, and their supporters say that they have restrained themselves as they did not want to create any unnecessary problem to their candidates by violating norms.

The people will be missing the decorated and public address system fitted cars, jeeps, trucks and autorickshaws criss-crossing thoroughfares; cutouts and banners, late night public meetings, which were ubiquitous with the elections in the past.

“No doubt we enjoyed these things, which led to much noise pollution, in the past. Now we have understood it is nothing but waste of money.

All credit should be given the Election Commission and the authorities sincerely implementing its orders for the peaceful polling”, they point out.

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