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Blow to AAP, poll panel bans political boards outside homes

Nivedita Khandekar , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 18, 2013
First Published: 00:39 IST(18/10/2013) | Last Updated: 00:43 IST(18/10/2013)

In a setback to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Election Commission (EC) on Thursday disallowed political parties from putting up boards outside homes under the anti-defacement Act.

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The party is now planning to approach court for a stay on the order.

Ever since the model code of conduct came into effect on October 4, the authorities had started taking action against individuals who had put up political boards and hoardings outside their homes under the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property (DPDP) Act 2007.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP had put up lakhs of boards outside supporters’ houses across the city. One of the reasons for this was that the party lacked funds for buying advertising space.

As reported by HT last week, the crackdown prompted Prashant Bhushan, AAP’s national executive member, to submit a representation to the EC last week. He had sought clarification on the interpretation of a particular clause that could allow or disallow an individual to put up a political board outside his or her house.  “How can putting up such a board by the individual himself amount to defacing public property?” the party had questioned.

“The EC has conveyed its decision today. Such boards are not allowed,” said Ankur Garg, Delhi’s nodal officer (model code of conduct). This will mean action against such boards and hoardings will continue across Delhi.

On expected lines, the AAP is in total disagreement with EC’s interpretation. “This is not about interpretation. This is a clear case of curtailing freedom of expression,” Sisodia said.

Till the issue is settled legally, the party plans to intensify its door-to-door campaign through its volunteer force.

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