Following the Bombay high court order on illegal banners and posters, political leaders sprung into action on Thursday, demanding that their workers remove all party-sponsored banners in the city.
Data provided by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) showed that almost 80% of illegal banners in the city belonged to political parties.
“I have asked councillors across wards to ensure all banners and posters related to our party [the Congress] were removed by Thursday evening,” said Dnyanraj Nikam, opposition leader from Congress party.
On Thursday, the BMC said it would not allow any political banners or posters in the city. Moreover, political parties and leaders would, instead, have to shell out hefty amounts to hire billboards and hoardings in prime locations.
This blanket ban has also meant that banners offering ‘shraddhanjali’ to Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray had to be removed.
“In order to adhere to the high court directive, we have asked party workers to remove all banners,” said standing committee chairperson Rahul Shewale from the Shiv Sena.
“Orders have also been issued to all political parties to take immediate action,” he said.
Parties are now looking at alternative ways of communicating with citizens. Life-size cut-outs of party leaders to commemorate birth anniversaries, banners welcoming top bureaucrats to the city and posters propagating party ideologies might soon be replaced by text messages, handbills, emails and door-to-door campaigns.
“As we will not be allowed to put up posters and banners anymore, we are working out a different strategy to reach out to locals,” said Rais Shaikh, group leader, Samajwadi Party.
“We will be using more direct tools such as text messages and handbills, and will appeal to our workers to abstain from putting up posters,” he said.