On the newly built Sidhwan canal flyover in Ludhiana, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal can be seen asking people to attend its Maghi Mela conference in Muktsar on January 14.
Posters on public property are a violation of Prevention of Defacement of Punjab Property Act, 1997. Violations under the Act are cognizable and punishable with imprisonment for a term extending up to six months or a fine up to Rs 1,000 or both.
In 2014, the party had campaigned against defacement of public property and held the SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress responsible for “defacement”. Its volunteers had then peeled off posters from walls to “help” the administration.
The party is now targeting 5,000 posters per Assembly constituency of Punjab to publicise Kejriwal’s visit on January 14. Leading the drive are its national organising building head Durgesh Pathak and president of AAP Youth Wing Punjab Harjot Bains, who are personally pasting posters at various places.
Young volunteers, however, object to the practice.
Amandeep Singh Bains, one such volunteer, clicked a photograph of a poster and conveyed his objection to senior party leaders. “How is the AAP different from other parties then? We did not join AAP to see photograph of an Akali leader (Kanwaljeet Singh Dua), who joined AAP a few days ago, together with that of Kejriwal. This poster was put right on the building of our main office in BRS Nagar and we objected to it. AAP is party of common volunteers not VIP newcomers. This VIP culture will not be accepted here,” said Amandeep.
Harjot Singh Bains, meanwhile, claimed he was unaware of any anti-defacement campaign’ run by AAP during the Lok Sabha polls. “It is important to publicise Kejriwal’s visit. A special pamphlet and poster drive has been initiated across Punjab to promote the Maghi rally. More than 5 lakh posters have been pasted till now in Punjab.”
Pathak, however, said it was a matter of serious concern. “We ask for permission before pasting posters on residences but if public property has been defaced, we apologise for that. It is a matter of serious concern,” he said.
State convenor Succha Singh Chhotepur said the party has no other way to advertise. “It is the cheapest way for a fund starved party like us,” said Chhotepur.
Ludhiana MC additional commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said he will direct the tehbazaari wing to remove posters and issue challans against the AAP.