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Political parties must campaign responsibly

The campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections reached fever pitch this weekend, and understandably so. It was a last chance for political outfits to take advantage of the holidays on the weekend and up the ante, when it came to campaigning on the roads.

Both Saturday and Sunday saw hordes of followers of different political parties exhorting people to vote for their candidate and reminding them of the symbols of the political party they endorsed. It was political drama and pushing at high octane.

The city of traffic and commuters got an eyeful of flags, banners and mostly young men and women atop different vehicles trying to get their attention, in a last ditch attempt.

While this is expected and to an extent, accepted, as poll date (April 24) is around the corner, political parties must campaign responsibly and with respect for citizens. The weekend saw traffic snarls at several key locations because of campaigning.

There was also frenetic movement of supporters on the roads. Those on foot were often seen walking right in the middle of the road, making vehicles crawl behind them. Those on bikes were seen riding three on one.

There was not a helmet in sight, and, though most of these bike-borne campaigners were moving slowly, there has to be greater accent on safety, both of the rider, the pillion and the common man on the road.

One spotted a few pillion riders with video cameras in their hands right at the head of the procession. They sat facing backwards on the bike, filming the proceedings.

Enthusiasm and fervour is all very well. But parties would have earned some brownie points by telling followers to keep to the left, so that the other vehicles could go by smoothly. More points if they had adhered to safety rules for their two-wheeler campaigns.

That would have been refreshing and different for citizens. It is ironical that all parties, promising safety and security for Mumbaikars, are not quite following rules themselves, when it comes to road campaigning. Do campaign, but, do not jeopardize or irk common people while doing so.

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