Poster ban puts political parties in bind in Delhi

September 10th, 2008 - 7:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) Told by a city court that they cannot put up posters, political parties here are in a bind. “How else do we publicise, or reach out to the people?” the worried politicians asked Wednesday only months ahead of the assembly elections in the capital.The question follows an orderof a Delhi trial court, which in May asked two candidates in the Delhi Cantonment Board poll to personally take off the posters they had put up. Both candidates are from Congress party.

Though political parties did not comment adversely on the court order, they all want to know how can they reach out to the voters if not without posters.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Vijay Goel said: “Before implementing the law, an alternative should be suggested. One cannot go for advertising alternatively, because it is very expensive.”

Goel is not alone. CPI-M’s Delhi state secretary Pushpinder Grewal said: “Though we do not put up posters, small parties like us should be allowed to carry out minimal propaganda. How else would we reach out to people?”

The party leaders are worried because their activists may start putting up posters despite being told not to do so. Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president J.P. Agarwal said: “Delhi is a political capital and so many things happen in the political circles here. It is not possible for the party to check that party members do not paste posters at public places.”

According to the West Bengal Defacement of Public Property Act, which is also applicable here, no one can put up hoardings and posters in public spaces. Moreover, under the Delhi Municipal Act, permission should be sought from the municipal commissioner before putting up any poster or hoarding.

Residents of the capital, however, welcomed the court order, having just seen the effect of the Delhi University Students Union elections on the city walls.

Anamika Chatterjee, a resident of Patel Nagar said, “It is so annoying to see these posters all over the city. They even paste the posters on houses in residential colonies. In Patel Nagar, they covered a public toilet fully in posters, so much that it was beyond recognition. This is not the way a civilised society lives.”

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