In Mumbai for defamation case, Rahul Gandhi gets a hero's welcome

Updated: Nov 16, 2016, 20:59 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Congress vice-president will appear in court tomorrow to face charges in a defamation case

Congress workers put up over 500 banners of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi across the city. Pic /Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Congress workers put up over 500 banners of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi across the city. Pic /Sayyed Sameer Abedi

While the Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is arriving in the city this evening to appear at the Bhiwandi court on Wednesday, party workers have decided to give him a hero's welcome. Despite a ban on illegal banners, especially political ones, Congress workers have set up more than 500 banners along the route Gandhi is expected to take. Gandhi will appear in court over a defamation case for accusing the RSS of killing Mahatma Gandhi.

When mid-day travelled on the WEH stretch on Tuesday morning, between the domestic airport and Santacruz-Vakola junction, there were more than 100 banners put up on streetlight poles. There were also other small and big banners installed at junctions. The situation along the all-important Santacruz- Chembur Link Road was not much different, with banners put up on the sides of the road and also at the junction near the Kurla-CST Bridge.

With the BMC elections just a few months away, the Congress cadre in the city is also using this opportunity to flex its muscles. The majority of the banners had the picture of Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam welcoming Rahul Gandhi. When contacted Sanjay Nirupam , he was unavailable for comment.

Illegal hoardings mess
According to the civic body’s licence department, the banners or posters should be put up only on legal advertising boards or they should have prior permission from the local ward office. During festivals, all political parties had put up illegal posters and banners and the civic body had started a special drive to remove them.

Superintendent of the licence department, S B Bande, could not be reached for comment. Mumbai has been reeling under the menace of illegal hoardings for several years and the HC has rapped the BMC a few times, asking it to take action under the Maharashtra Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 1995.

In the month of February, the workers of a political outfit had entered the office the civic body at Chembur and allegedly thrashed the staff for pulling down banners.

Helpline numbers
The BMC already has a helpline number for Mumbaikars to register complaints regarding illegal banners (1292-1293) but the number has been of very little help.

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