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New mayor, supporters deface city with congratulatory hoardings

In an overdrive to celebrate the newly found victory, Patiala's mayor Jaspal Pardhan and his supporters are defacing the city with congratulatory posters and hoardings.

punjab Updated: Sep 20, 2012 23:54 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times

In an overdrive to celebrate the newly found victory, Patiala's mayor Jaspal Pardhan and his supporters are defacing the city with congratulatory posters and hoardings.

Only a few days after being elected as the first citizen of the royal city, Pardhan is also perhaps the first one in this fresh tenure of the civic body to spoil Patiala's face.

Even as chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and SAD chief and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal - after sweeping the assembly polls - had, on several occasions, instructed their party leaders and workers not to indulge in laudatory advertisements and hoardings, citing them to be a wastage of money and an activity that defaces cities and towns, Pardhan and his supporters seem to be brushing aside their party's instructions.

And, they have not even spared private properties in the city.

Though Patiala's municipal corporation (MC) has earmarked spots to put up advertisements and billboards that too after taking due permission from the civic body and by making payment as per the set norms, the mayor's supporters have put up advertisements and hoardings at places where they are "strictly prohibited" other than the earmarked spots.

As per official information, neither the mayor's supporters have given a penny to put up the congratulatory boards nor have they taken permission from the department concerned of the civic body.

"For someone of mayor's stature, this is a cheap route to popularity. People don't expect this from the first citizen of the city. How can he convince the public about civic sense?" said Ram Kumar, a retired forest officer.

The leader of opposition Congress in the SAD-dominated MC house, Sanjiv Sharma Bittu has also termed the installation of hoardings as a "cheap" strategy of SAD to win over Patiala residents.
"If the mayor himself is doing this, how will he be able to punish other violators? Showing some grace, the new mayor should come forward and ask his supporters to keep away from such publicity stunts," said Bittu.

A senior official of the civic body also termed the excessive hoardings in the city as utter misuse of power by the mayor's team.

Interestingly, in the hoardings carrying pictures of the CM, deputy CM, and education minister Sikander Singh Maluka, rural development minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, spotlight is on the mayor's son Preetinder Singh who is Youth Akali Dal (YAD) president, Patiala Urban.

Also, Preetinder's stage sharing with the staff of Patiala MC at the first meeting of the new mayor on Thursday remained a topic of discussion among newly elected SAD councillors.

Preetinder was present on the stage with his father, commissioner Gurlavleen Singh Sidhu, joint-commissioner Najar Singh and a few other employee union leaders.

He also delivered speech from the dais, while many senior councillors say among the employees.

First Published: Sep 20, 2012 21:14 IST