EC to hear plea on cancellation of Congress poll symbol

EC to hear plea on cancellation of Congress poll symbol
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New Delhi: Less than a month before Karnataka goes to polls, the Election Commission (EC) will on April 18 hear a plea regarding the cancellation of the Congress party’s election symbol — palm, a BJP leader said on Thursday.

Ashwini Upadhyay, who had petitioned the EC in this regard, tweeted the information, saying “… the election symbol had been illegally allotted to the Indian National Congress”.

“As per law and the Model Code of Conduct, part of body can’t be an election symbol and also a person can’t enter in a polling booth with any election symbol,” said Upadhyay, also a Supreme Court lawyer.

Polling is scheduled for May 12 in Karnataka which is likely to see a tough contest between the Congress that is trying to retain power in the crucial state and its main political rival the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Upadhyay filed a petition before the poll body on January 29, alleging that the Congress’ symbol violated the Model Code of Conduct.

He contended that Section 130 of the Representation of People’s Act and the General Conduct 4 of the Model Code of Conduct restricted exhibition of election symbol on polling day and “particularly within 100 meters of polling station”.

“Since the election symbol of the Congress is ‘Hand’, its candidates, supporters and agents always carry it, even when campaigning is stopped,” Upadhyay said in the letter to the EC.

The symbol was allotted to Indira Gandhi-led Congress (I) in 1980 by the EC. The similar open palm symbol was earlier used by the All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) in the 1952 elections.

As AIFB disbanded soon after the 1952 elections, the symbol remained unused for decades till it was offered to the Congress (I).

IANS