If the fight for West Bengal is restricted to the election posters of political parties dotting the city’s streets and by lanes, the ruling Trinamool Congress may just have its way.West Bengal started its first phase of polls in 18 constituencies across the state on Monday, but locals say bunches of election posters had already cropping up across the city as early as February.The unique feature of West Bengal’s poll poster war is that it is only about posters of TMC and its chief Mamata Banerjee, whose smiling face is a stark feature on them.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A trip around the West Bengal capital shows a remarkably higher number of TMC posters on display along its roads, on the shops and even medians of roads, making the other posters insignificant.Though far behind the ruling party, BJP comes second in terms of its outdoor presence. However, neither the CPI(M), not the Congress has been able to make any significant presence felt on the roads of Kolkata.The situation, however, is a little different in the rural areas of west Midnapore and Siliguri in north Bengal –both CPI(M) strongholds before the last 2011 state elections –where the left party has some visibility.Political observers attribute the overwhelming outdoor presence of the ruling party to the party’s quick decision on there candidates.”The TMC was fast. They had decided on their candidates in advance. So, the moment the polling dates were announced by the election commission, they were the first to put up posters with their candidates on them. While other parties were struggling to take a call on their candidates, TMC had already occupied prime poster locations,” a poll analyst said.Speaking to dna, a top TMC functionary agreed that the party had indeed planned their poll campaign well in advance and had all secured permissions on time.Unlike other states, poll posters in the state are bereft of much creativity. Most TMC posters, for instance, carry a huge picture of Banerjee, alongside a smaller picture of the local party legislator contesting the poll, with a blunt caption seeking votes.Another TMC source said, “Didi (Banerjee) is someone who people of West Bengal can easily relate to and hence her pictures find prominence on the posters.”Banerjee is indeed the fierce, local, Bengali-speaking face of her party, an important factor which has helped the party fare well in the last couple of polls, including the general as well as the civic elections.The BJP, which is trying hard to make an entry in West Bengal has displayed a few posters in Kolkata and rural Bengal. However, most of them are lost in deluge of TMC posters.Talking to dna, Kailash Vijayvargiya, BJP general secretary admitted it is important to have a better outdoor visibility ahead of elections. “We had put up many posters, but they are constantly being removed by the TMC workers,” he alleged.”Even the municipal corporation is leaving out TMC posters and tearing away ours,” Vijayvargiya said.The limited number of BJP posters visible across the state features prime minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, along with the local candidate of the constituency. The party lacks a local, easily approachable, Bengali face in the state, which according poll observers, will go against the party.BJP workers, however, defended the stance to project Modi as the BJP’s face saying that the PM and the ‘development’ he brought along will fill in for the absence of a local face, and that people would easily relate to him.Similarly, CPI(M) and Congress alliance lacks any significant outdoor presence this election season in the city, even though they have some presence in rural constituencies of the state.A CPI(M) source said the party has never had the culture of putting out huge posters and this year, too, is no different.However, party insiders revealed that left party’s lack of poll posters is because they don’t have a prominent face to project this time. Former chief minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee was the party’s face last time.”The party leadership had approached renowned Bengali actor Soumitra Ghosh and even theatre personality Kaushik Sen to be the face for the party, but both had turned down the offer,” an insider revealed. However, a unique feature of political campaigning in West Bengal –colorful wall graffiti – is an aspect where the opposition has tried to catch up with the TMC to an extent. Not only Kolkata, but in rural localities as well as the northern part of the state, hundreds of wall paintings of individual political parties on fences as well as walls of houses.However, in this aspect too, TMC fares better than others. For election wall graffiti, the EC had made it mandatory for political parties or secure permission of house owners.”Out of fear, most people give permission to the TMC to paste poster on their houses,” a Congress worker alleged.

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TMC makes a clean sweep in poll posters wars