Election authorities in Maharashtra have issued notices to administrators of 12 WhatsApp groups for alleged violation of the model code of conduct, an official said on Tuesday.
The notices were served following complaints received by the Nanded district administration of poll campaigning-related posts being circulated on these WhatsApp groups ahead the next week’s state assembly elections, he said.
In view of the complaints, the media certification and monitoring committee of Nanded district last week issued the notices to administrators of these 12 WhatsApp groups for allegedly violating the poll code, he said.
Of late, social media is being used as a medium to reach out to voters.
“We received complaints against these 12 groups over various posts which were related to election campaigning. The MCMC then issued notices to administrators of these groups. We have sought a clarification from them within a week over the posts,” Nanded Collector Arun Dongre said.
An official of the monitoring committee said as per the Election Commission’s guidelines, one-to-one sending of messages, which denote poll campaigning, by candidates is allowed.
“But, there are rules for posting such messages in groups. Hence, we have sought a reply from the administrators of these 12 WhatsApp groups over the posts,” he said.
The official also said that they will check if the candidates, whom the posts referred to, were aware of these messages or not.
“If yes, they (candidates) should include it in their campaign expenses. If they deny, we will think of further action,” he added.
Polling for all 288 assembly seats in the state will be held on October 21 and counting of votes will take place on October 24.
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