Manmeet Singh Gill
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, May 6
The ‘dhol-dhamaka’ usually associated with electioneering is missing this season as campaigning has evolved over the years. The loudspeaker-mounted auto-rickshaws urging people to vote for ‘parhe likhe, soojhwan ate har man-pyare umeedwar’ (educated, wise and popular candidate) are missing from the streets. So are the frills which could be seen fluttering in every nook and corner of the city even after the results were announced.
The dholis which were earlier a part of every election campaign groups and announced the arrival of candidates in the streets too have become a rare sight. The electorate too seems to be enjoying the noise-free campaigning as they appreciate the change and attribute it to a strict check on election expenditure and need for permission to use the loudspeakers. The restrictions have taken the colour off the campaigns but the form has acquired a different shape, the nuances not getting lost, only becoming slightly submerged beneath the surface.
Election after election, people have seen loudspeaker-mounted rickshaws going full throttle and now when they are no more to be seen, they wonder if the candidates are not canvassing too hard.
“There had been elections when loudspeakers of candidates ran through the streets disturbing people all through the day. Now, it seems that elections have become quite noiseless,” said Surjit Singh, an elderly. The residents said the Internet and mobile phones have taken centre stage in the campaigning which has its own positive and negatives.
In another change, the candidates were also seen visiting public places like parks to meet and woo people who usually do not prefer to attend a political gathering. “Usually, the gathering for a political meet is arranged by the local leaders and so the chances of a tough question from the audience are rare. With the leaders going to the public and non-political places, they would at least get to know the aspirations of the people,” said Sanjeev Puri, a retired principal, while speaking about the change that has come about.
However, the mobile and Internet users are getting an overdose of political messages. “The other day, I was playing a video game on the mobile phone. In the middle of it was a political advertisement. It is annoying,” said Kamaljit, a student.
It may be mentioned that the Election Commission rules require the candidates to seek permission for the use of loudspeakers. In the application for permission, the candidates are also required to mention the time for which the loudspeaker would be used. In case of any violation, the voters can easily file a complaint through C-vigil mobile application which is proving to be a deterrent for the political parties. The need for permission and a strict check on violations have helped in checking the noise pollution during the elections, said an official of the district administration.
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