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Ban on wall graffiti big problem : Left Front

Written by: Staff
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Kolkata, Mar 02 (UNI) Stopping short of criticising the state government for its ban on wall graffiti before the coming assembly elections, the ruling Left Front in West Bengal today said promulgation of West Bengal(Prevention of) Defacement of Property Act, 1976 was causing a big problem to poll campaign.

''The anti-defacement act is a big hurdle for us to carry on campaign. In our country it is not possible to conduct electioneering through television. Wall writing is a major mode of campaign, which has been banned,'' Left Front Committee Chairman Biman Bose told reporters after a Front meeting.

Mr Bose said the meeting had discussed the problem and decided to put thrust on door-to-door campaigns and hold small workers' meetings.

On February 17 the state government had extended the ambit of the Act, which had been in force only within the Kolkata Municipal Corporation area, to the whole of the state. The Act prohibits all kinds of wall writings.

Indicating that the Act should not have brought under its ambit political write-ups on walls, Mr Bose said only 25 per cent of the state's walls were covered by political campaigns. He alleged that commercial advertisements were largely responsible for defacement of buildings.

''The Left Front does not think that only political graffitis deface walls. If such acts are defacement then can the ads put up on wall by various companies be considered facelift for the city,'' he asked.

Mr Bose parried a question as to whether the Front would ask workers to stop writings on walls or erase all that they had put up so far.

''The government has done its job and the parties are doing theirs. I am telling you the way I should after the Model Code of Conduct has come into force,'' he said.

CPI(M) State Secretary Anil Biswas had already written to the Election Commission requesting for a comprehensive national guideline on the modes of poll campaigning in absence of wall writing, a traditional way of electioneering in the state.

He had stated categorically that the EC was the authority in poll-related matters and the party would abide by whatever directive it issued.

As the difference between the government and the ruling Front over the issue became apparent, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had said yesterday that he felt 'embarrassed' to have seen wall writings in favour of his candidature even after the ban was in force. He had called for a solution of the problem through an all party meeting, convened by the EC.

When his attention was drawn to the CM's remarks, the Front Chairman said Mr Bhattacharjee was not only a Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M), but also the Chief Minister. ''He has expressed his personal feelings and that has not spoiled anything for us,'' he said.

He also refused to say whether there was any communication gap between the government and the Front.

Mr.Bose said besides the CPI(M), other Front partners, including the CPI and RSP had also written to the EC asking for its instruction on wall writings.

UNI KDG PL RN 1624

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