Pune: Show Cause Notice Issued For Paid Advertisement For BJP’s Murlidhar Mohol On Social Media

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Pune, 9th April 2024: As the Lok Sabha election campaign gains momentum, candidates and political parties in Pune are turning to social media for paid advertisements. However, the District Level Media Certification and Control Committee (MCMC) mandates pre-certification of advertisements before they are published. Failure to comply has led to a ‘show cause’ notice being issued by Pune District Collector and District Election Officer Dr Suhas Diwase, raising concerns over transparency and adherence to election regulations.

The notice targets seven individuals, including a former BJP corporator, who failed to pre-certify their social media advertisements. Immediate disclosure has been advised to mitigate any potential violations.

Pune district comprises four Lok Sabha constituencies, with major political parties having already finalized their candidates. Supporters and party officials are utilizing social media platforms to promote their candidates, albeit in violation of the election code of conduct. In response, the district administration has assembled a team of six experts, including cyber police, social media specialists, and the district information officer, to monitor paid advertising on social media.

The team scrutinizes advertisements and issues ‘show cause’ notices if they are deemed to favor a particular candidate or party. So far, notices have been served to seven individuals across the district.

In a related development, the district administration has issued a notice to former BJP corporator Amol Balwadkar for allegedly campaigning on behalf of Mahayuti’s candidate Muralidhar Mohol without prior permission from the Commission. Balwadkar contends that his Facebook post adhered to all election code of conduct regulations, but he has nonetheless been summoned to provide a legal response to the notice.