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CPM poll graffiti plan

- Campaign strategy: Avoid visual pollution
A CPM hoarding in Durgapur; one of Trinamul’s graffiti on the wall of a house in the steel town.
Pictures by Arup Sarkar

Durgapur, March 27: Enter: hoardings, exit: graffiti. That’s the Durgapur CPM’s campaign strategy this poll season.

The Left party has decided to stay away from writing graffiti in several areas of the steel town in an attempt not to irk voters. It has instead taken some hoardings on rent from the Asansol-Durgapur Development Authority and have put up banners on them to appeal for votes for their candidates.

Such hoardings were seen in several parts of Bidhannagar, where the walls of many houses had graffiti of other parties on them.

“People living in posh colonies don’t want writings on their walls. They say it creates visual pollution. So, we have decided not to write any poll graffito in Bidhannagar and other areas in the town. We have put up hoardings and banners in authorised locations after paying rent to the ADDA and to the municipal corporation. We will also go for door-to-door campaign. We can thus set an example,” said Pankaj Roy Sarkar, the secretary of the CPM local committee in Bidhannagar.

A CPM leader in Durgapur said the initiative was taken for the first time. The Left party today began putting up hoardings in Ward 27.

According to a high court order, political parties have to take a written consent from the owner of the house where they want to write graffiti.

“If any political party forcibly writes on someone’s wall, it will be considered a violation of the model code of conduct. The house owner can go to police or file a suit in a civil court,” said a district administration official.

Sources said the CPM decided to stay away from writing graffiti after finding that most people were unwilling to allow political parties to paint the walls in their colours.

In Bidhannagar and its adjoining areas, the population is mostly made of physicians, businessmen, college and schoolteachers, engineers and other prominent professionals.

Residents welcomed the move not to write graffiti. “It is a good gesture. I think all political parties should follow this. This will avoid visual pollution,” said advocate Sushanta Roy.

College teacher Amitava Mukherjee pointed out that political graffiti not only create visual pollution but also take recourse to unparliamentary language.

“The languages and cartoons of some graffiti cross the limit in a civil society. It is good that a political party has decided not to write poll graffiti on the walls of houses in our area. I think everybody should follow this,” he said.

Trinamul, which has started writing graffiti on the walls in many private houses in the area, said party workers didn’t violate the high court order of taking the house owner’s assent.

“We write poll graffiti only after taking permission from the owners. They allow us to spread our message. What is wrong in it? Our workers will clean the walls after the polls are over,” said Apurba Mukherjee, the Durgapur mayor and Trinamul president in the district.