The Curious Case Of Election Symbols

Apr 15, 2019

Mysuru: Every election season ushers in a slew of party symbols that range from the mundane to the outlandish — an autorickshaw, road roller, jackfruit, CCTV camera, chapathi roller, whistle, a dish antenna and even chappals.

These are some of the selections by Independent candidates who are contesting the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. The Election Commission has allotted the symbols based on the list given by the candidates. While some of the symbols can easily be identified by voters as they are part of their mundane life, some are unique like one Independent candidate has got chappals. Who can forget the symbol of a jhaadu, or broom, floated by Aam Aadmi Party?

An election symbol is a fool-proof way for voters to identify their candidates while maintaining a secret ballot. While National parties and State parties have been allotted permanent symbols by the Election Commission, registered parties and Independent candidates too have to have symbols.

According to the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, symbols are of two types — either reserved or free. A reserved symbol is a symbol meant for a recognised political party for allotment to candidates set up by that party. A free symbol, on the other hand, is a symbol other than reserved for national and State parties.

Across India, 198 symbols have been approved by the Election Commission that range from a wide variety of items. Interestingly, a large number of candidates have preferred items like sewing machines, fans, pressure cooker in the hope that these symbols will resonate with their voters. This is also a tactic to woo women voters who are in large numbers. Even in last Parliamentary elections in Karnataka, people opted for tumbler, bread toaster, pressure cooker, bucket and chapathi roller. Some of the other popular symbols are sofas, almirahs, letter boxes, and gas cylinder.

Source: Star of Mysore