Misuse of SMS for campaign: Police say no FIR, no action

The Sahakar Nagar police say they can not take any action  over misuse of SMS by the Khadakwasla bypoll candidates unless a formal complaint (FIR) is lodged against them.

Before sending bulk SMSes as part of poll campaigning, a candidate has to take permission from the State Election Commission (SEC).

BJP candidate Bhimrao Tapkir

The issue was raised by people who started receiving SMS in the name of Harshada Wanjale of NCP and Bhimrao Tapkir of BJP asking for votes in the upcoming by-elections.

"A couple of days ago, we received a letter from the Office of Code of Conduct (OCC) complaining about the candidates who are misusing the SMS facility for their campaigning purpose.
However, we can not make any investigation on the issue on the basis of a letter; therefore filing an FIR is necessary in such cases," said Police Inspector M S Gavade of Sahakar Nagar police station.

It was noticed that some SMS were being circulated among the people by the office of the Returning Officer.
"The police should take action against any violation of the election laws," said Chandrakant Waghmare, head of the Office of Code of Conduct (OCC).

Waghmare said the OCC had sent a letter of complaint to the Sahakar Nagar police but they were unable to trace the number from where the SMSes were sent.

In the meantime, the OCC has found out that NCP candidate Harshada Wanjale had taken permission from the SEC to use SMSes for campaigning purpose.
Waghmare said the BJP candidate Bhimrao Tapkir, however, had not taken permission from the SEC.

Vikas Mathkari, city unit chief of BJP, said: "We are ready to show our expenditure to the expenditure committee. Our candidate has a right to convey his message to voters."

Asked why BJP's candidate had not taken permission from the SEC to send the SMSes, he kept mum.

Two cases of violation
From the day the code of conduct came into effect in the city, two cases have been registered for violation.
MNS worker Kailas Dangat displayed the MNS flex on a wall in Warje Malwadi. In another case, the flag of NCP and its logo were hoisted atop a jeep.



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