Corporators' inspirational texts irk residents

As civic polls near, voters face flood of unsolicited SMSes everyday from leaders looking to woo them

Not satisfied with making poll promises at public forums as the civic elections near, corporators in some localities in the city have begun sending inspirational quotes and adages through text messages to residents in their respective areas. And this has ended up irritating residents instead of making the corporator concerned popular.

Sources say that some local leaders keen on contesting the civic body election to be held in February are sending out personalised greetings and good wishes to each individual in their database in a bid to make their names familiar to residents in their locality.

Residents say that while in the past the contents of such text messages would usually be about some important information, undertaking in the locality or civic problems like power or water cuts, now they are receiving messages on sayings or adages by famous erudite personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekanand and Jyotiba Phule, among others.

This has resulted in quite a few residents complaining about being pestered, as they receive five to seven messages every morning. "Sometimes I receive up to five messages about the local civic problems or inspirational quotes, all in the span of an hour, and receiving them everyday is very irritating. These leaders think this is a new way of wooing residents to garner votes but they don't realise that this is completely unwanted," said Adil Khambatta, who lives near Clover village in Wanowrie.

Regulations say that as far as campaigning through SMS is concerned, aspiring election candidates are free to send messages till the poll code of conduct kicks in. "Once the code of conduct is in force, then it is mandatory for the candidates and their supporters to seek permission from the code of conduct office for any kind of campaigning through SMS or advertisement in newspapers and banners," said a senior official from the Collector's Office.

NCP corporator Subhash Jagtap from Wanowrie said he sends SMSes to his voters only on the occasion of festivals or at times to alert them about civic problems like water supply issues or bad roads. "We have the list of voters. Though residents are receiving messages, it is only for disseminating information," he said.

Ashok Yenpure, BJP corporator from Ward Number 82, said, "I never believe in such kind of campaigning, I instead go from door to door and develop contacts with my voters, which is an important way of building a rapport with them." Residents say Shivaji Rao Kedari, who plans to contest the election from Wanowrie, has been sending four to five messages everyday. Kedari refused to comment on the issue, saying he was busy in a meeting.

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