For years, politicians have insisted on defiling the city with larger-than-life-size banners of themselves. So their sudden volte-face and promises of helping the BMC rid the city of these eyesores comes as a surprise.
Responding to the civic body’s promise in this year’s budget to rid the city of their posters, political parties have promised to cooperate. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), however, which believes them to be a necessary evil, has not exactly been full-throated in offering its support.
Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte included the banner issue on the agenda in the civic budget this year. “We have decided to make the city banner- and poster-free and expect cooperation from political parties. They too agreed about this for the sake of making the city clean,” said Rajendra Bhosale, deputy municipal commissioner and in-charge of the licence department. “The number of political banners and posters will come down over the next two to three months,” he promised, adding, “If we garner political will, the change can be seen within two-three months.”
“We will support the mission to make Mumbai banner-free and will cooperate with the administration. In fact, we have resolved to make the city banner-free by May 1, which is Maharashtra Day,” said Shiv Sena’s Rahul Shewale, chairman of the civic standing committee. Not to be left behind, other parties like the Congress, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and others have jumped on to the bandwagon. Congress party member and leader of the Opposition in the BMC Dnyanraj Nikam said, “We will show support for a good cause. I wrote to all corporators of my party asking for their support and directed them to cooperate with the mission.”
“If the BMC takes stringent action against a political party, the others won’t dare to deface Mumbai,” said MNS leader Dilip Lande. He added that the decision taken by the administration regarding banners was commendable and should be implemented properly. The NCP also showed support for the cause, however, lukewarm. “We also wish to make the city banner-free. But we have to tell our voters about the work we do. The banners should be removed within days instead of being displayed for long,” said NCP leaders Dhananjay Pisal.