Besides the mainstream BJP and Congress, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has a new political competitor — Aapki Apni Party (Peoples). AAP has approached the Delhi High Court, after the Election Commission rejected its objection to the registration of ‘Aapki Apni Party (Peoples)’ as a new political party. AAP said the abbreviation of both parties would be the same, which could confuse voters, and sought its de-registration.
In its plea filed by advocate Anupam Srivastava, AAP claimed that the name of the newly registered party was similar sounding and may lead to confusion among voters. It also sought quashing of the EC’s July 16 order, rejecting its objection against registration of Aapki Apni Party (Peoples) as a political party under provisions of the Representation of People Act.
The plea also said the AAP is “concerned” that the new political party may cause a big dent in its vote bank, and harm its poll prospects if both contest elections. The High Court Thursday sought the EC’s response. Justice Siddharth Mridul also issued notice to the EC and Aapki Apni Party (Peoples), seeking their stand on AAP’s plea, and posted the matter for hearing on November 13.
During the 2013 Assembly polls, AAP had complained to the EC that due to the similarity in symbols — AAP’s ‘broom’ and ‘torch’ — voters were being misled. The party had said that they lost several seats during the 2013 election because independent candidates, some even having names similar to the AAP candidates, had used the torch symbol to confuse voters.
Independent candidates from Janakpuri and Kalkaji — both with the torch as their symbol — polled more votes than the margin that AAP candidates lost by. The EC had then removed the torch from the ‘free list’ of symbols. The symbol was also changed later to look less like a broom. In January 2017, AAP’s Delhi leaders had objected to the use of another free poll symbol, the okra, claiming it looked similar to the broom.