Winners and losers of LS elections deface Mumbai with party hoardings

While the victorious are congratulated for their performance, losing parties thank the public for voting for them; politicians say they have taken permission for the displays

Ever since the announcement of the Lok Sabha election results, the city has been inundated with banners, posters and hoardings of political parties. It’s not just winners; even parties that were defeated in the elections have grabbed space to ‘thank’ voters.

After the election results, the city is filled with banners of both winning and losing political parties. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar and Datta Kumbhar
After the election results, the city is filled with banners of both winning and losing political parties. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar and Datta Kumbhar

On May 17, mid-day had reported how, after the BJP-Sena alliance hit bull’s eye in the elections, the BJP placed a bulk order of 100 hoardings in Mumbai. Although BJP’s city president, Ashish Shelar, claims that they have only paid for commercial hoarding, this paper observed the streets filled with banners and posters.

The hoardings and posters display victory messages, congratulating winners, thanking voters, singing praises of their elected members or simply carrying mammoth pictures of Narendra Modi and Bal Thackeray shaking hands.

Surprisingly, the Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), who both received a crushing defeat, are not left behind. One can see a number of hoardings from their stable as well, thanking citizens for casting their precious votes.

Rahul Shewale, the Shiv Sena winner from South Central constituency, said, “The party has taken permission to put up hoardings. Other hoardings of individuals congratulating me are simply expressing their happiness. They, however, don’t have permission.”

BMC Speak
Mohan Adtani, the additional municipal commissioner and in-charge of the licence department, which issues permission for displaying such material, said, “In the suburbs, one can see a lot of hoardings of political parties. I have directed officials to file cases against lawbreakers. We have given permission for approximately 1,800 hoardings and the list is regularly updated on our website.”

Citizens speak

AnandIni Thakoor, managing trustee of Khar residents association
There are a number of hoarding in the Khar-Bandra area, Linking Road, S V Road, etc. I have complained to the BJP, as well as the assistant commissioner of the H-ward, but have not received any response yet. The BMC cannot have double standards, where on one hand, they ban illegal hoardings and on the other, they don’t respond to complaints of residents.

Ashok Pandit, chairman of the Oshiwara-Lokhandwala citizens association
The entire Juhu Vile Parle Development Scheme (JVPD), Versova and Veera Desai Road is flooded with ugly looking hoardings. I don’t understand why the losing party has to thank voters for their defeat. I have seen hoardings of former MP Gurudas Kamat all over the area, thanking voters. It is highly shameful, and the BMC should take action as soon as possible.

High Court order
After the bench observed that the law prohibiting defacing of public roads was quite clear, but its implementation was left much to be desired, Bombay High Court had directed civic bodies of the state to remove illegal hoardings, banners and posters. The BMC had then made amends to its 2004 policy, issuing a ban on all illegal hoardings.

Punishment for defacement
Under Section 328 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, displaying illegal banners, hoardings or posters is liable to a fine of Rs 1,000-Rs 5,000, depending on the size of the display. In addition, under Section 3 of the Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1995, lawbreakers can face fines up to R2,000 and/or imprisonment up to three months.

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