With Mumbai in the throes of festivity, smoke and soot from the Ravana effigies incinerated during Dussehra still lingers in the air. And as Diwali looms, the city’s walls are fast being cloaked in banners, with politicians bestowing their good wishes on sundry Mumbaikars.
While unsightly posters or banners are a familiar sight all round the year, their presence on the walls is overwhelming during the festive season. Politicians seem to believe they can draw maximum mileage out of this season, smiling down from these hoardings as they force their wishes upon the unsuspecting populace. How many of these hoardings are legal?
Every now and then, the BMC swings into action, launches a clean-up drive and removes the illegal hoardings. With shameless resilience, they reappear within days. One can’t help but cringe at the sight of gigantic, garish posters with the less-than-flattering portraits of the politicians smiling beatifically. Aesthetics apart, why are these netas and parties getting free advertisement? Most of these banners are placed at traffic junctions or other spots of high visibility, where common citizens would have to pay a hefty price for some ad space. Any advertiser will tell you just how expensive it is to advertise on outdoor spaces. In a city where every inch is valuable, people pay lakhs to advertise their products, while political parties get mileage and space, very often, for free.
If they really want to be visible to the public on all these occasions, parties must book space like other citizens and pay for it. The common man has to put immense strain on his purse for these celebrations, given the skyrocketing prices of food and LPG cylinders. In the rat race for sustenance, they have no time to stop and stare at these hideous posters.