Plenty to choose from,at the cost of familiarity

Each of the four candidates has had to choose an alternative symbol,and each is upset at surrendering a mark of familiarity.

Written by Pritha Chatterjee | New Delhi | Published: December 2, 2013 5:06:04 am

The Samajwadi Party has had to drop its familiar symbol in two Delhi seats because it is identical with that of another party,Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party,which too has been made to drop it. The SP has long been associated with the bicycle but the JKPP too uses that symbol.

Each of the four candidates has had to choose an alternative symbol,and each is upset at surrendering a mark of familiarity. In Malviya Nagar constituency,where he has now has a glass tumbler as his symbol,the SP’s Chahat Miyan says,“My constituency has 13 villages,where few people can read or write. Everybody knows the Samajwadi Party but they can only relate it to a cycle. On my campaign,most people have thought I am an independent candidate rather than a Samajwadi Party member.” The JKPP candidate has a camera as his symbol.

The other constituency where both parties have fielded candidates is Ballimaran. Here the Samajwadi Party candidate is fighting on the symbol of a cup-and-saucer and the JKPP’s on one of a ceiling fan. “I had to run a very intensive campaign to counter this confusion,” says Anas,the JKPP candidate. “Our supporters are a closed group and they identify us with our symbol,which we have had for years. It took me a long time to make my constituency aware of this.”

As per the Election Commission’s Election and Symbols Reservation Order,1968,the same symbol can represent different state-registered parties only in their respective,different states. “If two state parties with the same symbol are fielding candidates in an election being conducted in a state where neither party is recognised,both are asked to choose alternative symbols to prevent any confusion,” says Neeraj Bharti,additional chief election officer in Delhi. “The candidates are given a list of free symbols maintained by the EC and asked to choose from them.”

National parties such as the Congress and the BJP have reserved symbols. State parties have reserved symbols only in their respective states. A third category of parties — registered but not recognised,such as the Lok Janshakti Party,Naya Daur and the Awami Party,which are contesting the Delhi polls — can reserve their symbols only if they fulfil the EC criterion of fielding candidates in more than ten seats.

Independent candidates who are contesting this year have chosen,from an array,symbols that they feel best represent them. Anil Nagpal,independent candidate from Adarsh Nagar,has chosen a helmet. “We were asked to give a choice of three symbols by the EC. I chose the helmet because it protects people. I want to protect my constituency from corruption,” Nagpal says.

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