Candidates of different parties contesting from ward 13 of Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC), which goes to polls on February 12, have set a new precedent in their campaign.
Unlike other wards of the city with wall graffiti in support of the candidates, not a single wall writing or graffiti could be found in this ward.
In ward 13, the Congress has not fielded any candidate. There are candidates of Trinamul, BJP and CPI in the poll fray.
According to residents of the ward, after the civic polls were announced, the ward committee comprising residents from different walks of life urged candidates to refrain from painting graffiti on walls of residential and commercial buildings.
“It was done to discourage visual pollution. All other publicity materials used for election campaigns can be removed easily after the elections but graffiti remains for months and years, unless the owner of the building puts a fresh coat of paint. Graffiti spoils the look of a building,” said a resident.
The request worked and none of the parties put up graffiti. Instead, they have put party flags, banners, festoons and posters across the ward.
Manik Dey, the former councillor and Trinamul's candidate contesting from ward 13, said: “Most walls of our ward are clean and we thought of not making those dirty with wall paintings only for an election. In some cases, graffiti is wiped off after elections but even so, the wall does not look like before,” he said.
Raman Tuli, the CPI candidate, and the BJP’s Bhushan Jain endorsed the decision.
“As we did not paint a single wall, residents have appreciated us. It is important to listen to people who live in your area, especially when you are contesting an election to serve them in the coming days,” said Jain.
A senior Trinamul leader said such practices should be introduced in other wards.
“This is an issue that can be discussed at a citizens’ convention and residents of the city together can make a decision that wall writing ahead of elections would be stopped across Siliguri. It will largely reduce visual pollution,” he said.