On publicity blitzkrieg, political parties defacing public places in Himachal Pradesh | india-news | Hindustan Times
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On publicity blitzkrieg, political parties defacing public places in Himachal Pradesh

This comes close on the heels of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s bolstered drive to endorse Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swatch Bharat Abhiyan across the state.

india Updated: Jul 08, 2017 20:21 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Writing on the walls of government properties is prohibited under the Himachal Pradesh Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement Act), 1985.
Writing on the walls of government properties is prohibited under the Himachal Pradesh Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement Act), 1985. (HT Photo)

Caring two hoots about norms, political parties are defacing private and government properties as part of their publicity campaign ahead of the assembly elections slated to be held by the year-end.

This comes close on the heels of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s bolstered drive to endorse Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swatch Bharat Abhiyan across the state.

The BJP has launched a special wall writing campaign across the state and some party workers have hired painters for the job to the chagrin of the departments responsible for maintaining government buildings.

Be it walls of buildings or parapets on the roadside, political parties are painting every possible place with their slogans and appeal for vote.

Writing on the walls of government properties is prohibited under the Himachal Pradesh Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement Act), 1985.

The Dagshai Cantonment authorities deputed jawans to whitewash the walls on the main road. The graffiti-writing triggered a war of words on social media.

“Whereas Modi is propagating Swatch Bharat spending hundreds of cores on Incredible India, “bhakts” are busy defacing public properties in the Queen of Hills and other parts of the state,” state Youth Congress president Vikramadiya Singh wrote in his social media post.

“Why there is so much hue and cry when political parties do wall writing? Companies, including multinationals, advertise their products on every inch possible. There is a theory that hoarding cause accidents. We are just writing slogans and that too in a neat manner,” said state BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti.

Officials of the district administration said though there is a provision of fine under the act, they can only act if owners of properties bring it to their notice.

“We can only act once we receive a complain. We have appealed time and again to government departments to bring such things to our notice,” said Shimla deputy commissioner Rohan Chand Thakur.

Walls in the national capital are painted with slogans of student unions.

WHAT THE LAW SAYS?

Under the Himachal Pradesh Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement Act, any advertisement, both printed and painted, is prohibited on government properties.

An advertisement means any printed, cyclostyled, typed or written notice, document, paper or any other thing containing a letter, picture, sign or a visible representation. Open places include any private place or building, monument, statue, post, wall, fence, tree or visible contrivance .