Is any party contesting elections bothered about the trail of destruction it leaves behind in the form of posters on walls, hoardings, bills?
What happens immediately after an election? The winning party starts evaluating the CM or PM candidate, the loser party starts evaluating the causes. And what happens to the public? We, the people start looking at our homes, offices, shops thinking, “The walls are flooded with too many posters. We need to get someone to clean these.”
Yes, every election, particularly in small cities and towns leaves the city bad-faced with too many posters and bills pasted on walls. We have become habitual to it. Election Commissions of the code of conduct results in painting all posters with black or dark brown color a couple of days before the polling date. This painting is done in so rough way that the city starts looking worse.
I recall 2009 elections. One of my neighbors had recently built his home and painted it with synthetic enamel of best quality. Next day, someone posted several posters. He had to spend two full days cleaning the walls after the elections. Strategically, my home is not that prominent location for election posters, and further, we have planted a lot of trees in front of the house, so walls are not that easily visible- another benefit of planting trees.
Mass awareness and unity in action is the need of the hour
Anyways, that incident inspired to look for some solution to the problem prompting is to do something. But, what should be done was not clear and nothing concrete came up. As time passed, and by the 2014 elections, we came across an idea. We collected several images from the internet, edited these with our requests, and started sending to some probable candidates, occasionally. In addition, I prepared several text messages like these-
“Dear Candidate, we trust you and would like to vote for you. However, we have decided NOT to vote any candidate who sticks publicity material on the walls of our homes, offices, and shops. We understand you would take care and also support us keeping our home, shop and office walls clean.”
“Dear Candidate too may posters and bills on the walls of our city keeping it look dirtier. Can you control your supporters to avoid such posters?”
“Pasting a poster on walls of my home may get you several votes. But, you’d certainly lose my vote. Is my vote really important to you?”
Meanwhile, we also started collecting the candidates and their close supporter’s phone numbers. Most of the candidate’s contacts were easily available on their publicity material. During evenings, I shared these messages, images and contact details to my neighbors and requested them to forward these to the candidates and their supporters on a daily basis. Further, I forwarded the messages and images to many of my known persons of the city, requesting them to do the needful.
Poster Free City
Many candidates and supporters were also visiting us for door-to-door campaigning. We clearly raised our demand to have a poster free colony- Yes! The colony; the campaigners were free to put their posters anywhere in the city but leave our colony clean. Of course, the similar requests were also being made from other colonies as well.
Finally, the big day came, we all cast our votes. Again, in the evening, we were discussing possible election outcome, and to my pleasure, someone pointed- “See, this time, there is not a single election poster in our colony. Not only this, overall the posters in the whole city are very less.”
For the winning political party, election results bring in a bright future. But, we won as we were able to keep our colony clean during elections.
It is a tried and tested formula for one colony where all came forward to play their part in “Swachh Bharat”. The key here is united they stood for a cause. Why cannot you guys also think to keep your colonies clean?
Think and Act for #LokSabhaElections2019 !`