March 20, 2006

Against the Wall

The Telegraph, 20.03.2006

It is not appropriate to justify wall-writing in Bengal by pointing out that cut-outs are the norm in election campaigns in Tamil Nadu. Both are equally wrong. They encroach upon private property, and the over-zealous cadre, who paint party slogans on the walls, never bother to clean them up after the elections. If Partha Chatterjee has so much faith on the presence of electoral officers of political parties in polling booths, then how does he explain the numerous instances of booth capturing, rigging, fraudulent voters and violence that have marked all the elections in Bengal’s recent history.

I have a feeling that Chatterjee’s real objection to the clean-up acts of the EC is his belief that elections in India are increasingly taking a bourgeois form. But it is doubtful how far posters, slogans and wall-writing are effective in bringing issues that concern the downtrodden to the table.

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