Citizen Groups Angry Over AIADMK’s Banner Blitzkrieg in Chennai
While the figures on banners have changed, AIADMK’s inclination towards the ‘cut-out’ culture remains unchanged.
If there’s one big outcome of the Edapaddi Palaniswami (EPS)-O Panneerselvam (OPS) reunion in Tamil Nadu that everyone can see, it’s the banner blitzkrieg that has been set off.
As the unified AIADMK made its way to attend the centenary celebrations for their founder MGR in Kancheepuram district on Wednesday, activists allege that around 900 hoardings were placed on just one seven-kilometre stretch from Chrompet to Vandalur, bearing the smiling figures of EPS and OPS.
While most of them are placed on the footpath, completely blocking walking paths for pedestrians, some of them even protrude onto the road, thereby raising the risk of accidents.
And it doesn’t end there. At some places, larger-than-life cut-outs of the Chief Minister and the deputy Chief Minister have also been spotted, rising precariously to heights of over 30 feet.
But, enraged citizen groups are determined not to allow public spaces to be swallowed for political advertising with impunity.
Hitting out at the ruling party, the Satta Panchayat Iyakkam (SPI), an NGO, pasted white posters on the faces of EPS and OPS on several banners with the words: “This place is for public. Not for your advertisement.”
Speaking to The News Minute, SPI General Secretary, Senthil Arumugam said,
Even when Jayalalithaa was alive, such banners were not placed around Chennai. They are now present from Tambaram to Perangalathur, in Guduvanchery and on GST road. All this is for the MGR centenary celebrations.Senthil Arumugam, SPI General Secretary
Describing the most overpopulated stretch, he said, “From Chrompet to Vandalur, the hoardings last for about 7 km. There must be at least 900 hoardings in this part alone. People are not able to walk on the footpath. The projections from these hoardings are dangerous for vehicles too.”
Senthil criticised the government for lacking in such enthusiasm when it comes to the real issues affecting people.
People are already so frustrated with this government. They don’t show this much enthusiasm when it comes to NEET exemption or controlling dengue. Major issues are being sidelined.
He added that the banner frenzy had particularly grown after the EPS-OPS factions reunited.
After Jayalalithaa died, they did not know whose face they should put on banners. Now, since the merger happened, party workers are becoming uncontrollable. This entire display is insulting to people and to MGR whom they are celebrating.
This is not the first time that the AIADMK’s zealousness when it comes to banners has outraged people.
In 2015, soon after the devastating floods in Chennai, the party had come under fire for a series of hoardings featuring then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa from Royapettah to Thiruvanmiyur, ahead of the party’s General Council meeting. While the figures on the banners have changed, the party’s inclination towards the ‘cut-out’ culture remains unchanged.
(This article was originally published on The News Minute)
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