BALASORE: With the wrapping of Mayawati’s party symbol -- elephant -- in Uttar Pradesh still making headlines, the ruling BJD in Odisha has opposed the recent directive of the State Election Commission (SEC) prohibiting use of party symbol and photos of party leaders.
The sarpanch, panchayat samiti member and ward member candidates have been prohibited from using their party symbol or personal pictures during campaigning for the panchayat polls.
In a letter to SEC Secretary Muralidhar Barik, Bhogarai MLA and Balasore district BJD president Ananta Das stated that neither the Gram Panchayat nor the Panchayat Samiti (PS) Act and Rules prohibit a contesting candidate from mentioning his/her sponsored party’s name and symbol.
The political parties have their fundamental rights to support any independent candidate to any election. The rights of any political party or an individual/elected political leader cannot be fettered if the political party/person concerned expresses support to any independent candidate in any election starting from ward member to Member of Parliament, he pointed out.
Claiming that the guideline of the SEC was nothing but misinterpretation of the Act, the BJD leader said nowhere in the Act has it been mentioned that the presence of party symbol or party leader contradicts the provision of law.
“As almost all contesting candidates are either primary or active members of political parties, it is impossible to go by the SEC guideline,” Das said.
The ruling party MLA besides demanding the commission to reconsider the guideline, asked, why did not the SEC while issuing notification for conducting election on December 24 issue the same guideline and clarify that a person enrolled as a member of any political party is ineligible to contest the election?
Since the use of party symbol during campaigning has become a convention for about five decades, sudden imposition of restriction will lead to confusion in the poll process, he added.