Municipal authorities pulled down a hoarding of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) from its main office on central Delhi’s Hanuman Road late on Tuesday evening citing the Election Commission’s model code of conduct.
AAP officials said that the party did not object to the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) action if it was as per law but accused authorities of not taking action against established political bigwigs such as the Congress and the BJP.
The AAP office operates from private property. The NDMC said that according to the Delhi Defacement of Properties Act 2007, political boards cannot be put up on private property.
“If the rule says hoardings up to 4 feet by 8 feet are allowed, apply the rule to all parties and offices. Moreover, BJP and Congress party offices located in Lutyens’ zone are residential properties turned into offices,” said Gupta.
Delhi goes to polls on December 4 and the one-year-old party has announced it will contest all 70 seats.
Ankur Garg, Delhi’s chief nodal officer (model code of conduct), disagreed that only AAP’s office was targeted. “Whenever there are specific complaints, with inputs about location etc, we certainly take action. Our district officials have been instructed too. But there is no point in making a general complaint.”
Training for members
Meanwhile, considering almost all its candidates for the Delhi Assembly elections are first timers, in fact, novices in the political arena, AAP has planned a training session for them.
The training for the candidates will focus on the ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ vis-à-vis the model code of conduct as per the guidelines of the election commission. The party is facing lot of trouble over the model code of conduct with the election authorities and has sought clarification about two main issues. One is the use of political boards/hoarding on the houses of individual supporters/volunteers. The second issue is the use of caps, t-shirts and vehicle stickers bearing AAP’s symbol and the party’s name.
Both the issues are under consideration of the Election Commission of India (EC). The party is also facing another problem with regard to permission for its rallies and public meetings.
“Based on the input from the EC guidelines, we will give the candidates notes. This will include what a candidate can do and what he/she cannot do. It will be an interactive session complete with question-answers, queries’ resolutions et al,” said Manish Sisodia, AAP’s spokesperson.