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`Long campaign period cause for concern'

By Syed Muthahar

TIRUCHI, MARCH 16. Two-months' time for campaign might be good news to political parties, which have already started gearing for the general elections, but the public otherwise.

While the 70-day period might give the contestants solid time to plan their strategy and campaign, the people think that such a long spell for electioneering will lead to wastage of money, manpower and time, besides causing anxiety to all sections, in particular to students preparing for annual examinations.

Reduction of the campaign period was considered a big achievement during the tenure of T. N. Seshan as Chief Election Commissioner, as it checked corruption and use of money and muscle power.

His successor followed suit, much to the relief of the public. Since then only a few weeks had been given for campaigning.

However, the decision of the present Election Commission (EC) to hold the elections only on May 10 in Tamil Nadu, giving about 70 days or campaigning from the date of issue of poll notification has come as a shock to the common man.

"The polling dates have been fixed taking into consideration the examination schedule in schools and colleges. But the very purpose will be defeated if a high-pitched campaign is allowed for over two months," says S. Pushpavanam, secretary of the Consumer Protection Council, Tamil Nadu.

The money factor will play a big role in terms of campaign expenses, Prof. Pushpavanam said and called upon the EC to introduce restrictions to keep the campaign low key at least in the last three weeks.

Rangarajan, a retired college teacher, said, `The long gap is totally unnecessary. Moreover door-to-door campaigning over the public address system and public meetings would greatly disturb the people.

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