Apartment complexes allow canvassing with reluctance

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Residents arrange interactive session with poll candidates

Apartment complexes that were perceived to be out of bounds for electioneering now appear to be allowing candidates contesting in the Lok Sabha elections enter the complexes seek votes from residents.

Besides door-to-door campaigning, candidates are trying to reach out to the residents of apartment through social media campaigns.

The apartment residents, who were initially averse to entertaining candidates or their supporters, appear to be obliging, albeit with certain conditions that address their security concerns.

Ravi C. Narayanaswamy, son of Congress candidate for Bangalore North segment C. Narayanaswamy, said that Congress party workers visited at least 100 big apartments during the past month. In some places, resident associations were reluctant to allow candidates and party workers to campaign in the apartment complexes because of security concerns.

Describing the strategies that candidates used to woo voters in apartment complexes, Mr. Ravi said that as many apartment dwellers are educated, they expect meaningful interactive sessions. “Educated voters want to have quality interactions.” Instead of allowing door-to-door canvassing within the apartment complex, residents make arrangements for the candidate concerned to meet all the residents in one place, say a huge hall or an auditorium.

Major Aditi Mohan, campaign co-coordinator for AAP’s Bangalore Central candidate V. Balakrishnan, said they need to take prior permission if they want to campaign in an apartment complex. Each of the apartment complexes has its own set of restrictions that are imposed on the campaigning candidates as well. “For instance, some managements give permission only for five persons to go into the apartment complex for campaigning while some others say that we should not distribute pamphlets. ” she added.

However, Kumar, manager of Parkway Tarang apartments in Rajajinagar, said party workers and candidates were prohibited from entering the premises due to security reasons.

At Bindu Anmol, an apartment complex in Prashanthnagar, housing a 100 houses, candidates were allowed to appeal to residents to turn up at the polling booth, but were not allowed to seek votes for a particular candidate or a party. Rakesh Jain, an executive committee member of the apartment association, said: “Some residents in our apartment are active party workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party and AAP. While distributing pamphlets is allowed, we do not allow candidates to canvass,” he said.

Mohan Rao, resident of Aditya Apartment in Ashwini Layout, which has 52 houses, admitted that there was a renewed interest in voting this time because of the “fresh” and “new generation” candidates in the fray.

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