in focus: writing on the wall Lok Sabha Election

An election that is green and clean

Plastic flex boards are passe. Good old graffiti is fashionable again and wall posters are in every nook and corner.

In the run-up to the 17th Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission’s attempts to enforce a green protocol during campaigning is getting favourable response from political parties, with some exceptions.

While there were very few reports of violation of the protocol in most districts in Malabar, reports from Thrissur suggested that political parties were adhering to it more in breach, forcing authorities to remove plastic flex boards and posters.

In southern Kerala, violation of the protocol had been found in interior parts of Pathanamthitta district.

Eco certification

Ouseppachan P.P., president of the Sign Printing Industries Association (SPIA), said polyvinyl chloride had been replaced with cotton cloth and a biodegradable material containing paper. “The Suchitwa Mission has certified that the material sourced from Coimbatore is eco-friendly,” he said.

One of the campaign team members for M.K. Raghavan, Congress candidate in Kozhikode, claimed that graffiti writing was back in vogue now. “Writing on walls had almost become redundant for the Congress campaigning with the advent of plastic flex boards. Now it is back,” he added.

Workers of the Left Democratic Front, who had never reduced their dependence on graffiti, are now drawing portraits of candidates too on them.

In Malappuran, portraits of LDF candidate V.P. Sanu were seen along with the graffiti. Posters of Indian Union Muslim League candidate P.K. Kunhalikutty have been put on the graffiti.

C. Jayakumar, executive director of the Thiruvananthapuram-based non-governmental organisation Thanal, said units printing cotton banners had come up in Kannur and Chengannur to cash in on demand.

Stephen Madavana, Ernakulam district president, SPIA, said paper-based biodegradable materials were considered ideal for small posters and boards meant for a limited period, and cloth was handy for big hoardings and banners.

Jai P. Bal, Ernakulam district Suchitwa Mission coordinator and district nodal officer for the observance of green protocol said, “Political parties remove campaign materials that are found to have violated the green protocol as soon as block-level nodal officers take their photographs and report it over the mobile app cVigil”.

Awards instituted

The Ernakulam district unit of the Suchitwa Mission has instituted awards for revenue officials who set up the best polling booth in compliance with the protocol and for the local body which disposes of campaign materials in an eco-friendly manner.

Ameer Shah, programme officer, Suchitwa Mission, said a green protocol facilitation unit had been set up to ensure that only ecofriendly materials were used.

“The curbs will be enforced in polling stations and counting stations. Voters and officials will be discouraged from carrying plastic carry bags to polling booths,” he added.

If all goes well, Kerala may well have a true green election this time.

(With inputs from S. Anil Radhakrishnan in Thiruvananthapuram and M.P. Praveen in Kochi)

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 8:50:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/an-election-that-is-green-and-clean/article26689819.ece

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