Politicians must pay up for banners

Yesterday, this paper ran a front page report about how the Akhil Bhartiya Sena’s Geeta Gawli, also the chairman of the health committee, plastered the walls of the BMC’s headquarters in Fort with illegal posters. So much so, that her face, along with that of her jailed father Arun Gawli, is the first thing you see when you enter the building. Posters greet people on either side of the lifts, and even on the walls along the staircases. And Gawli is not alone. Several posters bearing the BMC insignia have been put up around the building without the necessary permissions from the civic body. It is shocking and ironical that, leave alone the city, the civic authorities cannot literally put their own house in order, by first removing the posters from their building.

With the festive season already upon us, Dahi Handi celebrations have just come to a close, and as we await the Ganesh festival, followed by Navratri, we will no doubt see Mumbai’s walls once again plastered with different hoardings. Most of these, of course, will feature the familiar and tiresome mugshots of politicians across all parties who will either wish the people for some upcoming festival, or profess to have done or donated something for celebrations.

Some of these posters, which are illegal, may be removed by the BMC in its clean-up drive, but, soon enough, they will be up again on some pretext or another. Even as these posters defile the city, political parties get free advertisements. In a city where every inch is worth thousands if not lakhs why is it that genuine people must pay lakhs to advertise their products, while political parties can simply get publicity and mileage for free?

If they want visibility, parties must book space like other citizens do, and pay for it. Do ordinary persons go around the city, putting up posters of themselves and their products? Why should certain politicians be allowed to do so? All are equal here, and so let the banner boys and girls shell out the bucks, too, please.

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