BJP-ruled AMC to whitewash public walls painted with party symbols

The Indian Express | 5 days ago | 24-09-2022 | 12:35 am

BJP-ruled AMC to whitewash public walls painted with party symbols

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) ruled by the BJP decided to whitewash public walls painted with election symbols of lotus, hand and broom, six months after party state president CR Paatil launched a campaign to paint lotus symbol on public walls, leading to the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) following suit and painting almost all public walls, pillars of the metro rail and public toilets with party graffiti.The campaign was launched by the BJP leaders on March 13 from Ahmedabad and Surat, but rapidly taken up in all citiesacross the state. After a public outrage on social media over the defacement of public properties, the Gujarat Metro Rail Corporation (GMRC) was the first to paint over the symbols on metro pillars.The AMC also decided to impose a penalty on those defacing walls repeatedly. AMC standing committee chairman Hitesh Barot stated 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, too, started whitewashing the walls in all wards,” Barot told The Indian Express. However, this has resulted in white patches on the red brick boundary wall of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad. After the launch of the BJP’s lotus campaign, where every symbol was numbered, the Congress responded initially by painting LPG cylinders with its rates, alongside the lotuses in Ahmedabad, Jamnagar, and Himmatnagar (in Sabarkantha district). In Ahmedabad, the BJP launched the wall painting campaign from the Airport Circle in Shahibaug where Paatil and party vice-president Gordhan Zadaphia and general secretary Pradipsinh Vaghela, wrote, “Modi nu Gujarat and Gujarat na Modi (Modi’s Gujarat and Gujarat’s Modi)”, “Gujarat chhe makkam, BJP sathe adikham (Gujarat is firmly with BJP)” and“Sauno Saath, Sauno Vikas, Sauno Prayas, Sauno Vishwas (everyone’s collaboration, development, effort and trust)” along with the lotus symbol, on the walls.The Congress then painted its hand symbol next to the BJP symbol on public walls near Gandhi Ashram in Sabarmati, Shahibaug, Ellis Bridge and other areas in Ahmedabad. The AAP followed suit soon and painted brooms in a yellow backdrop with the slogan “Ek Mauko Kejriwalne (One chance to Kejriwal)”.Barot told The Indian Express that the AMC did not have a record nor was it conducting a survey of how many walls were covered with such political symbols. “How many walls have been painted with these symbols is not surveyed. So, the cost for removal is not estimated. Neither have we allocated any amount for this,” he said adding that political party painting the symbol again will be served a notice followed by a fine.“We have not decided the amount of fine yet. First they (the offenders) will be served a notice,” he said.Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) spokesperson Manish Doshi said, “Congress was not in favour of painting the walls with party symbols but were forced by the BJP that started defacing public walls and even government premises. In response to BJP’s misusing of power, Congress workers demanded to give them a befitting reply. But we did not paint any government wall.” BJP’s campaign to paint its symbol on public walls also met with criticism from the Mission Smart City Trust, an NGO, in Rajkot that has been painting walls in the city since 2015. They took objection to the BJP painting over its artwork at the city’s Kisanpara Chowk. After the organisation complained to the city mayor, municipal commissioner, and the BJP’s city presidents, the ruling party whitewashed the walls where the lotus symbols had been painted over the NGO’s artwork.

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