Election Model Code of Conduct OUT, Illegal Hoardings & Banners IN!

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Election Model Code of Conduct OUT, Illegal Hoardings & Banners IN! Why Strict Laws on Flex Banners & Liquor Sales ONLY During Elections, Why NOT All Year Long?

Mangaluru: Even before the declaration of the state assembly elections, Dakshina Kannada District Administration and Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) had taken initiatives to rid the streets of Mangaluru city of flex hoardings, banners, and other publicity materials. However, now that the polls are over, they are back in every nook and corner of the city, those of politicians, Schools?colleges Admissions, Religious events, etc etc. During the election, all such publicity materials were removed by the officials as per the directions of the Election Commission. However, the city corporation is yet to wake up against the illegal flex hoardings.

The question we need to ask is “Why only strict laws on flex banners and hoardings during Election time, why not enforce the law all year long? When illegal flex banners/hoardings are displayed all year long, no one imposes strict rules, but only when the election code of conduct kicks in, everybody gets into action. The city has become free from flex hoardings, buntings and banners during the last month- thanks to the mode of conduct during the election. All advertisement materials irrespective of politicians, religious institutions etc were removed.

As part of the model code of conduct, the defacement of public property at nearly 5,000 places in Dakshina Kannada district was removed as on 30 March 2023. The respective urban local bodies and gram panchayats had also continued drives to remove such publicity materials during the election. Before the election, flex boards claiming credit for the implementation of government schemes and projects were found in each ward of the city corporation and other constituencies of the district. Political parties were putting up flex boards to congratulate people’s representatives for taking up development works.

The district administration and the city corporation acted swiftly soon after the declaration of the election and removed all such publicity materials from public places under the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act. However, soon after the counting of votes, flex hoardings congratulating winners came up at many places in the city. The CPM, which was not in the poll fray in coastal districts, had complained to the MCC seeking action against illegal flex hoardings in the city before the election. Officials from the MCC said that teams have been conducting drives regularly to clear all unauthorised flex and banners.

Post the announcement of the results of the State Assembly elections, we are once again seeing illegal hoardings/banners the prominent spots in the City, which include those of candidates who had won the elections etc. Don’t you think that Laws should be followed throughout the year- irrespective of election or not? Funny and strange, which is happening ONLY in India, including Karnataka/Mangaluru/DK I guess! Apart from the ban on illegal flex publicity materials, this Strict law enforcement has left no fizz in the liquor biz before polls, making it one of the driest ever. At some of the wine shops, there were hardly any customers, and also during the weekend, which is unimaginable, since no liquor was served at the make-shift cabins next to the wine shops. The cats were belled and the liquor business had lost its fizz.

Now that the elections are over, you can see the illegal sale of liquor at wine shops. And regarding the display of flex hoardings/banners once again, they are violating rules as per the provision of the Karnataka Open Places Prevention of Disfigurement Act 1981. People should use their civic sense on such issues, but they do not. As usual, the officials had assured that action would be taken against violators of flex rules, but all in vain. Now that the elections are over, it is back to the same old story. So we will have to wait and see whether the concerned authorities, including the DC or MCC Commissioner/Mayor, will keep up their words on this issue, and remove the illegal publicity materials soon.

Meanwhile, MCC commissioner Channabasappa K has said that the city corporation officials will continue the drive to remove all unauthorised publicity materials in the city limits. Hope so. In conclusion, what is the point in having all these flex laws when they are NOT strictly enforced, EXCEPT during election time? Oh well, I guess nothing much could be done- the trend has been going on for years, and suppose it will continue in future too. That’s India! That’s Kudla!


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