With the BMC elections round the corner, February 16 to be exact, the familiar song 'n' dance has started about posters on the city's walls. Suddenly, Mumbai's walls are bereft of illegal hoardings and banners with political parties and their members thanks to the upcoming BMC elections.

Yet, one has to ask why something like an election is needed to get hoardings off the walls of the city? Every now and then, even when elections are not on the horizon, the BMC launches a clean up drive in which illegal hoardings and banners are removed.

Yet with shameless resilience, they seem to reappear within days and there you have it again, Mumbaikars wince as they pass garish posters of politicians congratulating themselves on some achievement, smiling immaturely as somebody or the other wishes them a happy birthday or marks some milestone. These posters are accompanied by sycophantic messages and slogans, all talking about just how great poster boy or poster girl has been and why their accomplishments must be recognised.

Even as these posters, hoardings and banners defile the city, one only has to think about how all these netas and the parties are getting a free advertisement by indulging in this. Ask a corporate and they will tell you just how expensive it is to advertise on outdoor space. In a city where every inch is valuable, why is it that genuine people must pay lakhs to advertise their products, while political parties get mileage and space for free?

If they really want to be visible to the public on all these occasions, parties must book space like other citizens do and pay for it. The walls are not there to be vandalised by inane wishes and congratulations which make the public even more skeptical than it already is. This is one kind of wallpaper or 'gaffe-iti' that the city does not welcome.