JIND: Flags, banners and hoardings of political parties and leaders are missing in the run-up to the Haryana assembly elections this time, which was quite a common sight in the 2014 assembly polls.
Even the supporters used to hang flags on the roofs/balconies of their houses to express their loyalty towards candidates and parties. However, during recent visits by TOI to several parts of the state, including Charkhi Dadri , where ace wrestler Babita Phogat is in the poll fray as the BJP candidate, Tosham where Congress’s stalwart Kiran Choudhry is contesting, Aadampur where Kuldeep Bishnoi of the Congress and BJP’s Tik Tok star Sonali Phogat are locked in a close contest as well as Jind, Fatehabad, Kaithal and other areas, the flags, banners and hoardings are conspicuous by their absence.
Election Commission of India (ECI) guidelines are being stated as the reason for this volte-face.
Talking to TOI, Uchana Kalana sub-divisional magistrate-cum-returning officer Rajesh Khoth said, “After model code of conduct for the assembly elections came into force, Defacement of Property Act was imposed on political parties and people, which bans pasting or fixing election material without permission. We have formed flying squads as well as monitor through C-vigil application to keep a close watch at village-level. Also, under the systems voters’ education electoral participation (SVEEP) programme, awareness is being spread among people.”
Jind-based Sandeep Kumar, who runs a printing unit that makes flex boards and other promotion material, said, “None of the party candidates have approached us. I have invested Rs 10 lakh in the business. Usually, during the poll season, we earn Rs 15,000 a day by printing poll campaign material, but it has been very lean so far. I will incur huge losses this time.”