India

Diamonds, computers and robots available as election symbols

Naveen Bharat Editorial

New Delhi: What do diamonds, computers, robots and pen drives have in common? Well! These are symbols for unrecognized political parties when assembly elections are to be held in several states next year. These are part of the list of 197 available symbols recently notified by the Election Commission.
While symbols are reserved for national and state political parties, unrecognized political parties and independent candidates must choose from independent symbols to contest elections.

These symbols often come to the rescue in case of divisions within political parties. The allotment of ‘helicopter’ as election symbol to Chirag Paswan’s faction and ‘sewing machine’ to the faction led by Pashupati Kumar Paras is an example.

This was not the first time the commission had to freeze the original symbol, allocating different symbols to the two factions following a split within one party. The split within the AIADMK saw a similar sight when the Election Commission decided to freeze the iconic ‘two leaves’ symbol. The commission allotted that symbol to the Palaniswami-Paneerselvam faction, ruling that they enjoy majority support in the party.

Independent candidates or anyone contesting on behalf of an unrecognized party will have to approach the commission for the symbol allotted from the available list. As per the rules, a candidate has to provide three symbols from the free list while submitting the nomination papers, out of which one will be allotted to them.

If a recognized political party splits, the commission decides which faction uses the symbol. In the case of Samajwadi Party, the commission had allotted ‘cycle’ to the Akhilesh Yadav faction.
In accordance with paragraph 15 of the Symbols Order, 1968, when the Commission is satisfied that a recognized party has a rival class claiming to be that party, the Commission may decide that such a rival class or such No rival class is that party. The decision of the Commission is binding on all such rival classes or groups.

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