Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) innovative campaigning through posters on the back of autorickshaws and hoardings on private properties has hit a roadblock.
Delhi's chief electoral officer (CEO) on Monday invoked the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 2007, prompting its leader Arvind Kejriwal to go and meet him to seek a clarification.
AAP was the first party to start using the rear side of the three-wheelers for campaigning in the city. The party had also requested people, including its volunteers and supporters, to put up posters and boards outside their homes, citing lack of funds to buy legal advertising space. Nearly 1,500 such boards have been put up in every constituency.
"The CEO told us that the Act stipulates that one cannot put up political boards or flags of any parties on individual and private properties. He also told us that autorickshaw drivers would need the returning officers' permission to put up such posters," Kejriwal told HT.
He also admitted that replacing such posters will be a tedious job.
But party leaders claimed that the police have already been harassing people over the issue across constituencies. AAP's Bijwasan candidate Col Devender Sehrawat said: "An individual cannot be charged for defacing his or her own property."
Vijay Dev, CEO, said: "We will start implementing (the act) only after model code of conduct comes into force. Till then, the police or civic agencies can take action."
But Kejriwal pointed out the silver lining too. "If it is applied uniformly across all parties, it will definitely help us. In case all such hoardings, boards and posters on autorickshaws are removed, the only way to campaign will be door-to-door. So we have the edge. Neither BJP nor Congress have the manpower to carry out such campaigns."