Another political rally in the city ends up defacing the city, yet again. Latest in the list of political parties defacing the city with banners, posters and flags is Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) on the occasion of its Gudi Padwa rally on Friday.
Earlier this week, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did the same on the occasion of their foundation day on Wednesday. MNS’s political rival and BJPs partner, Shiv-Sena has also put up banners across the city. In fact, a poster war between Sena and MNS is on Dadar where both parties are locked in a bitter tussle to reclaim their stronghold.
Political banners, flags are put across the city not only during festivals rallies but also birthday announcements and visits of leaders in the city. This is despite the fact that the Congress, Shiv-Sena, MNS and NCP had filed separate undertakings in affidavits to HC assuring that the workers would not put up such illegal posters and banners in the city.
Many posters celebrating the festival and announcing the rally were seen on lamp posts in areas like Andheri, Dadar, Parel. The licence manual of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) clearly states that the civic body does not give permissions for “political banners, birthday greetings and anniversary greetings, among others, on municipal roads and footpaths” according to the HC’s orders.
“We have not given permissions for any posters or banners to MNS in Andheri. Officers have been asked to immediately remove any illegal posters but due to holiday the work is delayed,” said a civic official.
Additional Municipal Commissioner, in charge of license department, Pallavi Darade was unavailable for comment.
As hoardings continue to deface the city, the policy which completely bans political banners is being delayed by political parties in the civic body.
The banner policy is since 2013. It was referred back to administration by the political parties when it was brought before the elected representatives in the civic body last month. The political parties did not clear the policy as it restricted number of banners to two of size 10x10 per event, including Ganpati and Navratri festivals. Besides, the policy also stated that no political banners would be allowed during these festivals. At present, political banners are allowed within 100 metres of the mandap (pandal).
On March 14, 2013, the high court, while hearing a public interest litigation, ordered a ban on all illegal banners, hoardings and posters in Mumbai and other cities in the state. BMC gives permissions to put up posters under section 328 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act.