EC to hear plea against Congress’ election symbol

New Delhi [India]: The Election Commission of India on April 18 will hear the petition seeking cancellation of party’s election symbol ‘Palm of Hand’.

The petition was filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay. It will be heard by Chandra Bhushan Kumar, deputy election commissioner, at 3 pm on April 18.

Upadhyay wrote a letter to the EC in January this year invoking Article 324 of the Constitution which gives the Election Commission autonomy and power to carry out free and fair elections.

“Superintendence, direction and control of the election is vested in the Election Commission of India and under Article 324 of the Constitution, it has complete autonomy and plenary power to take appropriate steps, essential to ensure free and fair election in the country. It is pertinent to state that free and fair election is essential to achieve the great golden goals as set out in Preamble of the Constitution of India,” his letter read.

In his letter, he also said the EC allotted the election symbol “Pair of Bullock carrying Yoke” to the Congress and it contested the first four general elections with this symbol. After an internal split, the EC allotted the election symbol “Cow and Calf” to Congress. After another internal split, the Commission allotted the election symbol ‘Palm of Hand’ to the party.

“The ‘Palm of Hand’ is the only election symbol, which is a part of the human body, and therefore available as an inseverable part of the human body at any point of time,” his letter read.

In his letter, he stated that the election symbol has been misused by the Congress party.

He said, “The Model Code of Conduct clearly describes the cessation of election campaign before 48 hours of the polling and Section 130 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, bans exhibition of the election symbol within 100 meters periphery on polling day. However, election symbol ‘Palm of Hand’ allotted to Indian National Congress is such that it is been misused even after election campaigning has come to an end.”

In his letter, he said “The agents appointed by Congress candidates, brazenly solicit vote for Congress candidates by showing ‘Palm of Hand’ to voters on polling day within the polling premises. Applicant has observed such violation of the Model Code of Conduct and Section 130 of the Representation of the People Act 1951.”

Upadhyay requested the ECI to take appropriate steps to cancel the party’s election symbol with immediate effect to ensure free and fair elections. (ANI)