A survey of knowledge, attitude, behaviour and practices (KABP) of people conducted by the office of Chief Electoral Officer, Gujarat, has found that majority of voters in the state were influenced by the news, analysis and opinions expressed in the print media.
This was stated by Election Commission of India (ECI) representatives Akshar Raut and P K Das at a press briefing here on Thursday.
They said it was against the trend in other states where a majority of voters were influenced by the elections news, views and analysis aired on the electronic media.
Refusing to give full details of the survey as it was yet to be analysed completely, the officials said the role of print media in the state was very significant in this respect. This indicated that the commission needed to monitor the print media more closely and deeply so as to keep a check on “paid news” during the Assembly elections, they added.
They said the survey was conducted to understand the perception of voters in participation or non-participation in elections, adding that Gujarat was among the states that had the lowest voter turnout in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
They appealed to the media to educate voters to vote with a view to increase the polling percentage for the purpose of strengthening democracy. They also urged the voters to go for “ethical voting”, that is, without being influenced by the allurement of any kind by political parties or the candidates.
When questioned if the social networking media on the Internet would also come under the purview of “paid news”, they said the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) would keep a watch on all social networking sites to find out if money paid a role in “net campaigning” of either candidates or parties. Whatever action deemed necessary would be initiated against the candidates and parties in this connection, they added.
The EC representatives from New Delhi said that even bulk SMSes would be monitored for poll expenditure and would be added to the total expenditure of the candidates in whose favour the messages were sent.
Asked what action could the Commission take if it was proved that a candidate had got “paid news” inserted in newspapers or got it telecast from the electronic media, they said an elected candidate was disqualified in a state and two others were issued notices by the Commission.
Regarding action against media found involved in “paid news” business, they said they would refer the matter to the Press Council of India as far as print media was concerned. However, they were without answer with regard to electronic media, which was not covered by PCI.
Poll panel says 5 Vadodara seats are ‘expenditure sensitive’
“The focus of the Election Commission of India during the (Assembly) elections will be on monitoring the expenditure by candidates and political parties. In Vadodara district, Manajlpur, Sayajigunj (both in Vadodara city), Padra, Waghodia and Dabhoi constituencies have been declared sensitive,” said district election officer and Vadodara collector Vinod Rao at a press conference on Thursday.
Two flying squads of the EC would be pressed into service in each of these five constituencies while one each would be deployed in the remaining eight constituencies to keep a watch on use of money during elections, he said.
Each flying squad will comprise an executive magistrate, an assistant police inspector and three constables.
Rao, however, did not specify the grounds on which the five constituencies were declared sensitive.
“We have set up an expenditure monitoring committee. It will be headed by Resident Additional Collector R A Mehta and the DDO will oversee its work,” he added.
A candidate would be allowed to spend maximum Rs16 lakh for electioneering beginning from the day he or she files nomination papers.
“Teams shall videograph political activities in each constituency and the footage would be analysed by video viewing teams. Such analysis will help establishing anomalies in accounts submitted by a candidate and real amount of expenditure,” R A Mehta said.
Any person carrying more than Rs 2.5 lakh cash would have to produce documents related to its source and person or institute to whom it is to be delivered. “Failing this, it will be presumed that the cash is a bribe amount and the person carrying it will be booked for bribery,” Mehta said.
The election officer added that there was no limit on expenditure by a political party but they would keep a tab on the movement of money and that they were taking help of the Income Tax department.
Currently, Padra seat is represented by Dinesh Patel, Waghodia by Madhu Srivastav and Dabhoi by Sidharth Patel.
it is not only in gujarat,u pls see in AP.the local news paper run by jagan also write all types of news against TDP,Congress etc..people believe the stories.the media whether they like it or not have polorised and the views are not straight forward any longer.they take sides of the parties n cover the news.this is rampant in the electronic media aswell..
Gujrat has its own significance to the society. Unlike other states, where the voters gather to hear their Neta's mischeavous speahes in the hot sun or the chilling cold (as the case may be), who utter just but nonesense claiming all the credits for every good work happened in the world, while blaiming their opponent party(ies) for every other bad things happened. Though Mr Modi is not the one to take the credit for this astonishing finginds, he can feel real proud of his state people that they are literate and are the decision makers!!
Findings of the survey conducted by EC that print media is preferred over electronic media is relevant. Sitting in Bombay I vehemently support print rather than electronic media. The electronic media has brought it upon itself by hankering after TRPs resulting in an obscene thrust for Breaking News not in a day but in every shift (Arun Shourie%u2019s words). Whereas the print media, especially a paper like The Indian Express which always gives balanced views and opinions which are more in the form of solutions which the political parties and the society at large can look up to.
We the people of India always appreciated kudos for EC work. The upasaks (devotees) of saraswati( Goddess of learning ) are urchins and the riches are appreciatefor their wealth to laxmi( Goddess of wealth). Modi has turned urchins into riches and EC says the same in literary words : Print media influences Gujaratis more