A day after Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) lost the fight to wrest back its election symbol of whistle, with the Election Commission (EC) deciding to freeze it, Independent candidates from Palghar complained to the poll panel on Sunday that as a result of both BVA and Bhujan Maha Aghadi (BMP) laying claim to whistle, there was a delay in allotting them symbols.
The Independent candidates in Palghar claimed that they had to wait till midnight on Friday to be allotted their symbols. A few of them have written to the Delhi office of the EC seeking an explanation.
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Activist Sameer Vartak, who was waiting for the symbol for the Bhumiputra Bachav Andolan candidate, said they had to wait at the returning officer’s office for more than six hours. “We were told that the symbols will be allotted at 3.30 pm. We reached the office well in time and were sitting there till midnight, when the decision to freeze the whistle symbol was taken,” he added.
“While we have full confidence on our candidate, this just means less time for us to design and implement our campaign, as opposed to the national parties which have a set symbol.”
“I complained about the unjust and unfair treatment we had to face from the RO. All candidates should have been treated equally. Instead, more focus was given to a single party and its demands,” said Mayur Nilakh, another activist supporting an Independent candidate.
The newly-formed BMP, a registered national party with the EC, had been allotted whistle for contesting elections across India. The BMP, which had earlier backed the BVA in several polls, had severed its ties with the Hitendra Thakur-led party on April 2. The issue of the election symbol cropped up after the BMP nominated candidates on the Palghar seat and BVA also laid claim to the whistle.
On Saturday, Palghar Collector Dr Prashant Narnaware, also the returning officer for the constituency, had decided to freeze the whistle symbol. The BVA, a Congress ally, has fielded former MP Baliram Jadhav from Palghar against Shiv Sena’s sitting MP Rajendra Gavit. It has now chosen a ‘rickshaw’ as its poll symbol.