Unidentified miscreants on Wednesday night blackened more than 10 banners Lokraj Andolan had put up near near the Oberoi Hotel flyover as part of their Swaraj Abhiyan.
The Swaraj Abhiyan, which has put up questions and slogans at various parts of the city, envisages giving power to the smallest residential units — the mohalla sabha in urban settings — to decide on any and every issue which has a bearing on their lives.
Activist Arvind Kejriwal, who leads the team of the Swaraj campaign, said: “We had been receiving phone calls from various police stations and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) officials which said the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Delhi had ordered a probe into whether these slogans violated any code of conduct and (the banners needed to) be removed.”
“We asked the CEO, who denied ordering any such probe. I guess the local officials are under pressure from some political parties,” Kejriwal added. “All these banners have been put up on paid advertising sites,” he explained.
Officials from both Delhi Police and the MCD were on the defensive. “There are instructions about pulling down all illegal posters and banners. But now that it is ascertained that these banners have been put up on paid sites, these won’t be pulled down,” a police official, who declined to be named, said.
MCD director (Press and Information) Deep Mathur categorically denied issuing any instructions to his officials.
Officials from Delhi’s Election Office said: “We have sent the slogans for approval to the Chief Election Commissioner. (But) we have neither objected to nor asked the police or the MCD to remove these banners.”
Manish Sisodia, associated with Swaraj campaign, said: “This shows the completely undemocratic attitude of political parties. They cannot even tolerate people’s voices. Do you expect them to give us Swaraj?”
The campaign, which has put questions to politicians demanding swaraj (self-rule), has appealed to the citizens to join their campaign.
On Saturday, hundreds of activists would demonstrate outside the headquarters of the four major political parties — the BJP, the Congress, the BSP and the Left — and make a written submission to each, asking: “If voted to power, would you give us Swaraj?”