Pro and anti-Modi posters pop up ‘illegally’ at key city landmarks, MCC sets Wednesday deadline to remove them

In the busy Hampankatta junction, where two-, three- and four-wheelers engage in a daily jostle for space, there is another sort of battle playing out in the margins. It’s the battle of the ‘flexes’.

Barely 10 metres away from a large flex board proclaiming Gujarat Chief Minister as the next Prime Minister of the country, is another banner that prominently displays the pictures of Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and Jnanpith Award winner U.R. Ananthamurthy. While Mr. Sen is quoted as having said that Gujarat has a horrible record in education and welfare, Mr. Ananathmurthy’s quote likening Mr. Modi with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler is emphasised.

Similarly, in Jyothi circle (Ambedkar Circle), the Gujarat government’s handling of the recent floods in Ahmedabad is questioned in a banner.

However, these banners remain anonymous, with only a fictitious email ID given as contact. Even major advertisers in the city seemed to be unsure as to who put the posters up.

“Most of these banners and cut-outs are unauthorised. Moreover, advertisers will not take the risk of putting up political posters,” said Isaac Vaz, proprietor of Jyothi Advertisers.

Nonetheless, the counter-campaign has got the attention of Namo Brigade, who seemed determined not to be drawn into a fight. “Whoever has put up the banners did not have the guts to reveal their name. This is an attempt to spoil the name of Namo and to provoke us into a reaction. But we have told our volunteers not to respond,” said Naresh Shenoy, convenor, Namo Brigade Karnataka.

On the innumerable ‘Modi’ banners that have popped up across the city, he said it was the “taking off of a brand” by volunteers. “People have downloaded designs from our website and posted them. Namo brigade does not have anything to do with them,” he said.

Though he suggested that the anti-Modi boards may have been put up with support from Congress, the district unit of the party denied any connection. “All our ministers and MLAs are busy in the field and have no time to get into competing with other parties’ banners,” said a district Congress representative.

However, in all of this, the last word lies with the Mangalore City Corporation. “None of the cut-outs or banners put up is authorised. Due to Dasara festivities, a lot of religious and political posters have come up. They have time till October 16 to remove it all. Else, we’ll impose fine on them,” said Assistant Revenue Officer Praveen C.K.

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