Umar told to pay fee, has campaign banners removed

Former Home Minister Umar Naseer. (Sun Photo/Ibrahim Shamveel)

The campaign team for presidential candidate former Home Minister Umar Naseer has had the campaign banners they put up in Hulhumale’ removed, and has been told to make the payments required to put up banners.

Former State Minister for Home Affairs Ahmed Saleem (Maaz Saleem) said the banners were removed without prior warning. He said that Housing Development Corporation (HDC) later told the campaign team that putting up campaign banners in Hulhumale’ will cost MVR 10 daily.

Saleem said that such rules were hindering the equal right to campaign provided to candidates. He alleged it was a deliberate act driven by fear other candidates had for Umar.

“When we requested permission, they said they would issue permission at the rate of MVR 10 for each banner. And that the banners must be three foot 15 inches,” he said.

Saleem said that other political parties have large banners put up in Hulhumale’. He said that Umar must be given the same opportunity.

He also said that HDC must return the banners they removed.

“They cannot take our property, whether it’s the government or city council. And they must return the property they take,” he said.

Saleem also alleged discrimination in leasing land for Umar’s campaign activities.

He said that they would lodge a complaint with the Elections Commission over the issue.

HDC denied the allegation made by Umar’s campaign team. The corporation said that it has a uniform policy for installation of banners in Hulhumale’, whether political or other.

HDC’s spokesperson Ali Mashar said other candidates had paid the fee to put up banners and posters.

He said that Umar’s campaign banners were put up without permission from HDC, with only permission from the city council.

He said that putting up posters and banners in Hulhumale’ requires permission from HDC.