Don't be surprised if in the coming few days your neighbourhood postman hands you a hand bill exhorting you to vote for a particular candidate in the forthcoming municipal elections. The Department of Posts, in a bid to increase its revenue base, has now decided to take benefit of the election season and will offer a service to the candidates for distributing their campaign literature through the local postmen.
"We are offering this service under the Direct Post Scheme being run by the Department of Post. The service would entail distribution of un-addressed articles like letters, cards, brochures or pamphlets in any locality designated by the candidate fighting the election," the any locality senior Supdt of Nasik post office KR Babu told HT.
The post office would be charging a fee of Rs 1500 for distributing 1,000 pamphlets, which would not have any address.
"The senders of direct post can specify the areas and the number of articles for each area in which the sender wishes the direct post articles to be distributed. We will also inform the sender that the articles handed over by him have been delivered according to his instructions," he said.
The distribution of campaign literature for political parties by postmen is allowed under the Indian Post Office Act 1898 and Indian Post Office Rules 1933.
Even though none of the candidates for the Nasik Municipal Elections have availed this service yet, many are showing interest. The Nasik post office has also started a marketing initiative in selling this concept to all the candidates fighting the municipal polls.
"It is a good way to reach out to the voters. The only hindering factor is the cost. I have to pay Rs 1,500 for distributing a thousand handbills. However, I can get the same work done by paying Rs 200 to a private party," Mahrashtra Navnirman Sena's candidate from a ward in Nashik Road Pramod Sakhare said.
Some candidates feel that reaching the voter through a government official also has its benefits. "The voters in my area are not very educated. The handing over of my campaign literature by a government official like a postmen would create a favourable response in their minds which could translate into votes," one of the independent candidates said.