EC sharpens scrutiny as parties eye 'ad'vantage

Centralised canvassing for BJP; JD(S) goes local; Cong undecided

With exactly a month to go for the Lok Sabha elections, parties are in the process of finalising campaign strategies in the State.

The three major parties will strive to get maximum publicity for their candidates. However, from use of public spaces to BMTC and KSRTC buses, all canvassing spaces will be under the scrutiny of the Election Commission.

The Commission has said that it is likely to approve use of hoardings owned by urban local bodies. But, with every local body being under the majority control of one of the parties, it is feared that the allocation of hoardings may be ‘biased’.

“We may approve the use, by parties, of hoardings leased out to advertising agencies. Parties should submit receipts for this as part of their election expenditure details,” said Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Anil Kumar Jha.

The CEO has sought certain clarifications from the District Election Officer and the BBMP commissioner. The EC is specifically interested in hoardings which are under the control of BBMP and leased out to advertising agencies and also the advertising rights on BMTC and KSRTC buses.

The parties, on their part, have diverse canvassing strategies. While the BJP has centralised display and canvassing, JD(S) has localised and divided its canvassing into parts due to financial constraints.

The BJP has entrusted its advertising and canvassing to Madison World for the entire country. The PR agency hired by the party has identified 300 hoardings across Karnataka and sent the list to the central committee in New Delhi.

Office bearers of the BJP State unit said that the content in Kannada and English, suited to local requirements, is being sent to the agency from Bangalore.

The BJP has identified the content, after its successful test run on hoardings in Adugodi, Basavanagudi and two other locations.

The JD(S) says that it does not have the financial capacity to sponsor canvassing for candidates. A party spokesperson said that the party has left the canvassing and advertising to individual candidates in each constituency.

The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee appears to be losing its lustre as far as campaigning aggressively  is concerned, so as to increase or retain its seats. “We have not yet finalised the locations or places for putting up hoardings. It will take a few days,” said Congress leader Boseraj.

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