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Sunday, May 19, 2024, 4:41 am

Sunday, May 19, 2024, 4:41 am

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How do political parties be assigned symbol.

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Why did the ECI in Tamil Nadu deny the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi a common symbol?

A new common symbol (Mike) has been assigned to the Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK), which received 3.9% and 6.5% of the vote in Tamil Nadu in 2019 and 2021, respectively. A common symbol (Pot) has been refused to the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), which received 1.09% and 0.99% of the vote in 2019 and 2021, respectively. Concerns have been expressed over the emblems given to “registered unrecognised parties” as a result of this.

What guidelines do they specify?

According to the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 (Symbols Order), a party is acknowledged as a “national” or “state” party by the Election Commission of India (ECI). The requirements for recognition at the State level are as follows: (a) obtaining one seat in the Lok Sabha out of every 25 seats or 3% of the seats in the Legislative Assembly; (b) obtaining one or both Assembly seats and 6% of the total votes cast; or (c) obtaining 8% of the total votes cast in a general election. According to the terms of the Symbols Order by ECI, symbols are granted to political parties and politicians running for office. Symbols are very important in voting in the greatest democracy, since a significant portion of the population is still illiterate. There is a reserved symbol for a registered political party that is not given to any other candidate in any constituency. For political parties that are registered but not yet recognised, one of the free symbols is given as a common emblem during an election if the party runs for two Lok Sabha seats or, if applicable, five percent of seats in a state assembly.

What’s the problem right now?

A “registered unrecognised party” may request the grant of a common free symbol for two general elections, according to Rule 10B of the Symbols Order. Furthermore, if a party received at least 1% of the votes cast in the State on the prior occasion that the party used this capability, it will be qualified for a common symbol in any future general election. Nonetheless, such an unacknowledged party must always apply for a symbol using the required form. This application may be submitted at any point in the time up to six months before the Lok Sabha’s or State Assembly’s, as applicable, terms come to an end. After that, the symbols are distributed according to “first-come, first-served” theory.

With the common symbol “Ganna Kisan,” the NTK had won more than 1% of the votes in the previous two elections in the circumstances mentioned above. However, because they only registered in February 2024, the ECI awarded the symbol to the Bharatiya Praja Aikyata Party (BPAP), who had applied earlier, in accordance with the “first-come, first-served” criterion. The BPAP hasn’t, however, before run in a Tamil Nadu election. Due to its failure to receive 1% of the total votes cast in the 2021 State Legislative Assembly elections, the VCK was not granted the allocation of a common symbol. Notably, the VCK is fielding four MLAs and one Lok Sabha MP from Tamil Nadu to run in the 2019 and 2021 elections using the “Pot” symbol.

What may be the next step?

The ECI has determined that NTK and VCK applications should follow current regulations. On the other hand, it seems counterintuitive to the layperson that the NTK, which obtained over 6% of the total votes cast, should not be given the prior common sign of its choosing. The fact that the VCK, which has elected representatives, is not qualified to get a common emblem would also be discouraging to the typical voter. The free symbol of “Pot” has finally been given to the two VCK candidates by their respective returning officers.

The current bar for party recognition may be maintained. The benefit of having their names at the head of the ballot in the electronic voting machine goes to the candidates put forward by recognised parties. However, the ECI may decide to change the regulations stating that registered unrecognised parties with an elected representation in the Lok Sabha or State Assembly, or those that get at least 1% of the total votes cast in a previous election, are entitled to a common symbol of their choice. This would fortify democracy and guarantee that their prior election record is fairly considered.

ABHISHEK VERMA


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