Apex court asks poll panel to give parties symbols they want (Lead)

March 27th, 2009 - 8:02 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday asked the Election Commission to accommodate the pleas of three unrecognised but registered political parties, including Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party, for poll symbols in their states.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam asked the poll panel to try and accommodate the pleas of the Praja Rajyam Party and the Lok Satta Party in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil star Vijaykanth’s DMDK in Tamil Nadu to get the symbols of their choice.

The Praja Rajyam Party has sought the train engine, DMDK the drum and the Lok Satta Party the whistle as their party symbols.

However, the bench said that its order was interim and applicable only to the upcoming elections.

The court said on the basis of this “interim and purely temporary order”, the parties will not be entitled to any preferential treatment in getting the symbols of their choice.

Earlier, the three parties approached the poll panel seeking the symbols, but the Election Commission denied their pleas, saying only recognised national and state-level parties are entitled to have an exclusive symbol.

The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order of the poll panel stipulates that a political outfit would be recognised as a state-level party only if it has secured at least six percent of the total votes polled besides winning at least two seats in the previous assembly elections or one seat in the Lok Sabha in the previous general elections.

The bench also scrapped a recent order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court asking the poll panel to give all unrecognised and registered political parties an exclusive and common symbol of their choice to their candidates.

The apex court interim order came on a bunch of lawsuits, including by the three parties and one by the poll panel challenging the high court’s order.

Vijayakanth’s party had secured 8.33 percent of the total votes polled in Tamil Nadu in the 2006 assembly elections, but had been able to win just one seat - that of the film star.

Chiranjeevi’s party, however, is yet to contest any poll.

Appearing for the Praja Rajyam Party, advocate Rajeev Dutta claimed that the party has a membership of over five million people, which is about 10 percent of the total electorate in Andhra Pradesh. He said his party is sure to cross six percent of the polled votes, besides securing many assembly and Lok Sabha seats.

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