THE Election Commission has decided to consider SMSes by candidates as part of the poll campaign and have asked poll observers for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh to issue a notice that it should be stopped 48 hours before polling day.
For the poll panel, SMS services cannot be equated with a door-to-door campaign that has been allowed even after the deadline. “There is technology involved in SMSes,” it feels.
Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami said the EC studied the entire range of SMS messaging. “We had two rounds of meetings with service providers and have been assured by them that the source of bulk SMSes can be traced within 30 minutes,” he said.
What about tracking down the source when the messaging is not in bulk? In such a case, a message is simply forwarded from one person to the other to avoid being tracked down as a bulk supplier. Gopalaswami’s response to this was “the innovativeness of the human mind is endless”.
Gujarat goes to polls for the first phase on December 11 and for the second on December 16. The second and final round of polling in Himachal Pradesh is slated for December 19.