Graffiti herald the coming of civic polls in rural areas in Tirunelveli

Sundararaj, an independent candidate of Keelanaththam panchayat, draws his election symbol near Palayamkottai in Tirunelveli.   | Photo Credit: A. SHAIKMOHIDEEN

The neatly painted walls around the houses of suburban areas and the mud walls of thatched houses of rural areas that remained inrtact during the recently held Assembly and Parliamentary polls are being defaced for coming rural local bodyelection, interestingly with the permission of property owners.

Candidates have their election symbols drawn on walls in suburban and rural areas in a bid to bring them close to the hearts of voters.

After the Election Commission made it clear that no wall graffiti would be allowed in urban areas without the permission of the property owners during the two earlier elections, most of the remained unblemished even in the midst of high-octane electioneering. Now, the rural civic polls have revived the age-old political culture of painting the walls with election symbols.

While candidates for the posts of panchayat union and district panchayat councillors get the symbols of political parties, aspirants for panchayat president and village panchayat ward positions are given ‘independent’ symbols. Hence, they have to be taken to the voters only thorough wall graffiti.

“Since the candidates have been allotted symbols only on Saturday last, they are being displayed on the walls now,” says Sundararaj, an independent candidate for Keezhanatham village panchayat president.

As the services of painters have become costly due to sharp rise in demand, Mr. Sundararaj and his supporters draw the symbols on the walls after getting permission from the landlords.

Since most of the panchayat president and the panchayat ward member candidates are known to the voters, they easily persuade the landlords to allow them to draw their symbols on the walls. But the panchayat union and the district panchayat councillors, representing many villages, struggle to get permission.

“The candidates have to execute an agreement with the property owners saying they would repaint the wall after the end of the polls with the original colour. The agreement mostly says the repainting work should be completed to the satisfaction of the landlord within 72 hours after the end of the election,” says N. Rajendran, a painter, from Palayamkottai.

In a few places, supporters of the candidates and even the candidates themselves become ‘painters’ for promoting their symbols. Painters struggle while drawing ‘independent’ ranging from coconut tree to road-roller.

“Drawing ‘Two Leaves’ or ‘Hand’ or ‘Rising Sun’ takes only a few minutes. But drawing other symbols is an ordeal as we have to do it to the satisfaction of the candidate,” says Mr. Rajendran.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 3:34:32 AM |

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