JD(U) Arrow Symbol Row: Delhi High Court Refrains From Passing Interim Order

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today refrained from passing any interim order against the Election Commission of India’s order rejecting the claim of the Sharad Yadav faction of Janata Dal (United) over the ‘Arrow’ symbol.

The Election Commission of India, in its November 17 order, had recognised Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led faction as the real JD(U).

Justice Indermeet Kaur said that “prima facie there was nothing” before the court to pass any interim order as the Election Commission has not yet given reasons for its decision.

The court told the lawyer for the poll panel to take instructions on when a reasoned order would be passed by the Election Commission and listed the matter for hearing tomorrow.

It was hearing a plea moved by a Gujarat MLA, Chottubhai Vasava, who is the acting president of Yadav’s faction of the JD(U).

The legislator’s lawyer told the court that already the first phase of filing nominations for the Gujarat elections got over yesterday and the second phase would be complete in another 10 days and who will use the symbol during the elections has to be decided before that.

However, the lawyers for the Nitish Kumar faction told the court that its members have already filed nominations with the ‘Arrow’ symbol as the Election Commission had ruled in their favour.

They also said that the Election Commission order gives reasons for rejecting the claim of Sharad Yadav’s faction as the poll panel noted that Nitish Kumar’s faction had majority in the legislature.

Mr Kumar and Mr Yadav parted ways after the former decided to join hands with the BJP in July, triggering a battle for the control of the party.

Mr Yadav had claimed that by ending the alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD and deserting the greater ‘grand alliance’, Mr Kumar had gone against the party’s national executive’s decision to oppose the BJP.

As the rift between the two widened, Mr Yadav held a ‘national executive’ conclave of the JD(U) in Delhi where Mr Vasava was appointed the acting president.

Mr Vasava, who is also the Gujarat unit party chief and a six-term MLA, approached the Election Commission staking claim over the party and its poll symbol ‘Arrow’.

Mr Yadav has all along maintained that the faction led by him was the real JD(U).

The Election Commission, in its order had said the group led by Nitish Kumar “has demonstrated overwhelming majority support” in the legislature wing as well as the majority in the national council of the party, which is the apex organisational body of the JD(U).

However, Mr Vasava’s counsel told the court that the party led by Sharad Yadav was the real JD(U) and Election Commission had relied on the disputed election of the national council.

The two factions sought an early decision from the poll panel, noting that they wanted to contest next month’s Gujarat Assembly election using the ‘arrow’ symbol.