It’s the war of election kiosks in Vadodara as the Congress locks its horns with the Election officers to secure ad space on electric poles that have already been occupied by the BJP kiosks promoting Narendra Modi’s candidature.
On Wednesday, after correspondences with the local authorities yielded no results in their favour, the Congress party threatened to pull down Modi’s kiosks if it was not granted space on the poles according to the “equitable distribution of space” policy of the Election Commission.
On Wednesday, Congress candidate Madhusudan Mistry charged the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) and DEO of working for the “Chief Minister of Gujarat” as they had not conceded the Congress party’s request to put up their kiosks on alternate poles, where Modi’s posters have been put up since March 24.
Addressing the media, Mistry expressed his anger and said that the party would be forced to pull down Modi’s posters starting Thursday.
Mistry said, “We are not asking for a favour or alms, we are seeking what is rightfully ours according to the rules of the Election Commission that clearly states that all political parties must be given equitable share in spaces reserved for promotions and campaigns. For the last three days, we have been requesting the VMC to give us alternate electric poles that the BJP has totally used them for Mod’’s campaign. But the authorities have not given us a positive response. So, we are forced to write to the Election officers.”
Mistry received a communication from District Collector and Magistrate and also the DEO, Vinod Rao, on Wednesday, stating that the election officers were seeking the advice of the state Chief Electoral Officer. Mistry said, “It is the duty of the Election Officers to decide which kiosks have to be allotted to which party and not the ad agency.”
When contacted, Rao said, “There are a total of 4,000 kiosks in Vadodara out of which 1,000 have been allotted to one particular political party by the advertising agency to whom the kiosks have been outsourced by the VMC.
The ad agency has entered into an agreement with the party on March 23 and charged them the commercial rate applicable for the space.
On April 1, the Congress party made the application and immediately the permission was granted, according to which the ad agency has asked them to choose from the 3,000 available kiosks across the city. But they are adamant that they want only the alternate electric poles that the other party has already paid for. We have made the report today to the Chief Electoral Officer of State to seek guidance.