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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Poll posters: Old message, new writing on the wall

How parties are trying different ways to communicate

india Updated: Apr 27, 2019 19:33 IST
Dipanjan Sinha
Dipanjan Sinha
Hindustan Times
A Trinamool Congress wall graffiti seen on Alimuddin Street near CPI (M) headquarter in Kolkata.
A Trinamool Congress wall graffiti seen on Alimuddin Street near CPI (M) headquarter in Kolkata.(Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

What’s the one thing missing this election… Reason, sure. Intelligent debate. Banners! They used to be everywhere. But as the Election Commission’s restrictions on posters have become stricter, and reporting violations has become easier with the smartphone, parties have turned to poster substitutes. So rather than giant posters of netas hovering over you on highways and street corners, you’re more likely to encounter them in… graffiti, cutout form, or even an abstract jibe at the opposing party that could only have come from one place.
Take a look…

Kerala & Tamil Nadu

Here, in the land of giant posters ‘starring’ the political leader in almost-filmi avatars, you now encounter odd, less-than-normal-sized cutouts. Standing by the road, with little to no text attached. Seen here, a cutout of KP Satheesh Chandran, Left Democratic Front candidate from Kerala’s Kasaragod constituency.


West Bengal

Political graffiti and cartoons are a tradition here. This year, the walls have featured plays on corruption and unemployment. Also, a call to vote for the Trinamool Congress, etched in Mandarin in Tiretta Bazaar, Kolkata’s China Town.

Madhya Pradesh

The posters here used to look like those promotional banners for coaching classes – rows and rows of faces on flex. If a local candidate put up a banner, they tried to include as many leaders from the constituency as possible. Now, subtlety seems to rule. The Congress party put up a cheeky poster on black money in Bhopal. No party name. No naming the opposition. But you know who’s talking about whom.


In Bihar, the Election Commission itself decided to cash in on the popularity of cinema with catchy Bollywood-style posters. In one in Begusarai, a scene from the film Om Shanti Om, featuring Deepika Padukone in raptures, urges people to vote. Go figure.

Uttar Pradesh

In this state, the walls went practically empty as soon as the model code of conduct came into effect. Instead, party supporters carry their loyalty onto the streets, quite literally, in the form of large moving placards and posters that they march with to rallies. Seen here, supporters of the SP-BSP alliance in Meerut march with a poster featuring Mayawati.


With inputs from Venkatesh Babu, Pankaj Jaiswal, Mujeeb Farooqi and Samir Jana

First Published: Apr 27, 2019 19:33 IST

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