Bengaluru: As Bengaluru gets ready to vote on Thursday, a message has been circulating on Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter advising people to leave their mobile phones at home before heading for the polling booths as its use has been banned by the Election Commission inside them
While many have dismissed it as yet another piece of fake news, it appears this warning is true as the ECI has indeed imposed such a ban. Should people not bother to take note, the ban could lead to chaos as neither the BBMP, nor the Election Commission have bothered to provide a facility for voters to deposit their mobile phones before entering the booths.
Ask a BBMP official and he admits it will be impossible for it to collect the phones at the booths and return them to their owners later. "They must leave them at home or in the safekeeping of someone they know 100 meters away from the booth, who will be willing to wait till they return to take his or her turn at voting,” he explained , recalling that it was only in Karnataka that the phone ban was not enforced the previous election, and it was strictly followed in states like Andhra and Telangana.
But with many still not aware of the ban on mobile phones in polling booths, the city may be in for some confusion on Wednesday. When Deccan Chronicle asked people from different walks of life what they thought about the advice on phones on social media, most dismissed it as a rumour. Said Mr Sathya Raj of Chamarajpet, who is a daily wager, "I am not aware of any such ban. I was allowed to go into a booth with my mobile phone the last time. But if it is in force then I will leave my mobile phone at a tea shop nearby.”
But those with smart phones carrying a lot of confidential information may not be as willing to part with them on polling day, which could then leave the election commission with a situation to handle ....