The BJP-ruled Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has decided to whitewash public walls painted with election symbols of lotus, hand and broom, six months after the party’s state president CR Patil launched a campaign to paint the lotus symbol on public walls, leading the Congress. And the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) painted almost all public walls, metro rail pillars and public toilets with party graffiti.
The campaign was started by BJP leaders from Ahmedabad and Surat on March 13, but was quickly taken up in all cities
across the state.
Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation (GMRC) is the first to paint the symbols on metro pillars, following public outcry on social media over the degradation of public property.
The AMC has decided to impose fines for repeatedly defacing walls. AMC Standing Committee Chairman Hitesh Barot said that “removal” of these symbols has been initiated across all 48 wards of Ahmedabad city.
“After the Metro Rail Corporation removed these political party symbols, the AMC has started whitewashing the walls in all the wards,” Barot told The Indian Express. However, this resulted in a white patch on the red brick boundary wall of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad.
After the BJP launched the Padma campaign, where each symbol was numbered, the Congress initially responded by painting LPG cylinders with the Padma as well as its price in Ahmedabad, Jamnagar and Himmatnagar (in Sabarkantha district).
In Ahmedabad, the BJP launched a mural campaign from Airport Circle in Shahibagh where Patil and party vice-president Gordhan Jadafia and general secretary Pradipsingh Vaghela wrote, “Modi nu Gujarat and Gujarat na Modi (Modi’s Gujarat and Gujarat’s Modi)”, “Gujarat Che Makkam, BJP”. Sath Adikham (Gujarat is firmly with BJP)” and
With the lotus symbol on the wall “Sono Saath, Sono Vikas, Sono Prayas, Sono Biswas (Cooperation, Development, Effort and Faith of All)”.
The Congress then painted its hand symbol next to the BJP symbol on public walls near the Gandhi Ashram in Sabarmati, Shahibagh, Ellis Bridge and other areas of Ahmedabad. AAP soon followed suit and painted a broom on a yellow background with the slogan “Ek Mauko Kejriwalne (A chance for Kejriwal)”.
Barot told The Indian Express that the AMC has no records and is not conducting a survey on how many walls were covered with such political symbols.
“How many walls are painted with these symbols has not been surveyed. Therefore, the cost for removal is not estimated. We have not allocated any amount for it,” he said, adding that if the political party painted the symbol again, they would be given a notice and fined thereafter.
“We have not decided the amount of fine yet. First they (offenders) will be given notice,” he said.
Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) spokesperson Manish Doshi said, “The Congress was not in favor of painting walls with party symbols but the BJP forced it to start defacing public walls and even government premises.
Reacting to BJP’s abuse of power, Congress workers demanded a befitting reply. But we didn’t paint any official wall.”
The BJP’s campaign to paint its symbol on public walls also drew criticism from Rajkot’s Mission Smart City Trust, an NGO that has been painting walls in the city since 2015. They objected to the BJP painting in Kishanpara in the city. chalk
After the organization complained to the city’s mayor, municipal commissioner and BJP city president, the ruling party whitewashed the walls with the lotus symbol painted over the NGO’s artwork.