Political parties unhappy at ban on poll campaign hoardings


Kolkata : Major political parties of West Bengal, including the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Trinamool Congress and the Congress, Friday told the Election Commission they would not abide by the new poll guidelines against putting up hoardings and posters as part of electioneering.

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“We’ve informed state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Debashis Sen about our problem with the poll panel’s notice. Sen assured us that he would communicate our message to the EC,” senior CPI-M leader Rabin Deb, who attended the meeting with the state poll panel, told IANS.

He said all political parties were unanimous that the new guidelines would affect poll campaigning.

“We also requested the state poll panel to maintain transparency in the new voter list,” said Deb, adding if the Election Commission stops political parties from putting up hoardings and posters in private places how could they reach out to the masses.

At least 10 political parties participated in a 90-minute meeting with the state poll panel and expressed their grievance at its diktat Friday.

State Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Rahul Sinha said wall graffiti, using microphones, putting up posters and hoardings are the cheapest means of campaigning during election.

“If we’re asked to stop using these tools, it’ll be really difficult for the small parties to campaign during the poll,” Sinha told IANS.

The Election Commission last week directed that only political flags, banners and hoardings can be put up on private buildings, but only after taking permission from the owners of the property.

The poll panel also issued a guideline that no political meetings would be allowed in the premises of educational institutions, even after school hours.

Parties across the political spectrum opposed the directives and said banning wall graffiti and political meetings in educational institution premises would cause trouble to the smaller parties in campaigning across the state.