The Election Commission (EC), for the first time has banned pasting of posters and drawing poll graffiti on walls even with the consent of the house-owner. With this order, only hoardings, flags and banners can be put up on private properties, that too with the owner’s permission.
As per the order issued by the EC early this month, political party and its candidate will be asked to remove any graffiti or posters put up by them in the first instance and would be fined in case of failure to comply.
The chief electoral officer of West Bengal said, “Any violation of the order would be punishable by the prevailing state or local laws where these are in vogue. Otherwise EC would take a decision.”
In West Bengal however there is a law enacted after assembly elections in 2006, allowing pasting of posters and writing on wall, with the permission of the owner of the property. But in spite of this law, it will not be possible to overrule the EC’s order and directives, as once polls are announced the model code of conduct comes into force which overrules the local laws, unless the same is challenged in a court of law and a ruling to the contrary is given by the court.
The EC has further banned holding of election meetings on school or college grounds apart from prohibiting distribution of Sarees and T-Shirts with political symbols or candidates name on it.
The CPIM state secretary Biman Bose vehemently opposed the order regarding posters and graffiti saying that EC directives would have serious implications on the growth of democracy in the country. Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee also reacted more or less in the same manner.