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Candidates not in party mood

Are election banners and hoardings in Delhi coming of age or are candidates simply too busy projecting themselves to bother about their party seniors or symbols? The mandatory constellation of party seniors gazing benignly at passers-by is missing in most hoardings, reports Anuradha Mukherjee.

delhi Updated: Apr 25, 2009 00:28 IST
Anuradha Mukherjee

Are election banners and hoardings in Delhi coming of age or are candidates simply too busy projecting themselves to bother about their party seniors or symbols?

The mandatory constellation of party seniors gazing benignly at passers-by is missing in most hoardings.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi make an appearance on separate hoardings.

It’s a similar story with BJP leader LK Advani and party chief Rajnath Singh. City politicians offered different reasons when asked why.

“There are many hoardings of Advaniji and Rajnathji. One has to focus some attention on the candidates as well,” said BJP candidate from New Delhi Vijay Goel.

His contender, Ajay Maken from the Congress, however, said his hoardings came up before he filed his nomination papers.

“Now that I am the official candidate, a new set of creatives will come up that will have the photographs of senior leaders and the party symbol,” he explained.

Those in the know, however, point out it is pure economics. The reluctance to use the photos of senior leaders and the party symbol is apparently to avoid overstepping the cap of Rs 25 lakh on poll expenses per candidate.

“If you put the photos of party seniors or symbols, it is counted as poll expense. The party and local candidates have separate kitties The hoardings with only the photographs of national leaders are in the party’s account,” said a senior city politician.

In the neighbouring parliamentary constituency of Chandni Chowk, Kapil Sibal of the Congress and Vijender Gupta of the BJP have also issued hoardings with their individual photographs.

While Sibal did not respond to repeated phone calls and messages, Gupta offered another reason.

He insisted that candidates could not canvass on behalf of the party before the last date of withdrawing nominations.

“Officially, campaigning started only after April 22. A new set of hoardings with the photos of the leaders will soon come up,” said Gupta.