Maya allowed to keep her party symbol
Mail Today Bureau
New Delhi, October 13, 2010
The Election Commission (EC) has rejected three petitions demanding
that the symbol of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) be frozen and party chief
Mayawati be debarred from contesting elections and disqualified as an
The petitioners had argued that the statues of Mayawati and the
elephant (the BSP's election symbol) at various parks and public
places in Uttar Pradesh could disturb the "level playing field" that
is necesary for conducting free and fair elections.
The EC did not elaborate on what it meant by taking "appropriate steps
and measures" at the time of elections, which are due in 2012. The
three petitions were filed in June-July last year by Atul Kumar Singh
of Rashtra Nirman, Kamal Kant Jaswal of Common Cause, and advocates
Ravi Kumar and Sukumar.
The matter had travelled to the Supreme Court, which directed the EC
to take appropriate decisions on the petitions. The petitioners and
the BSP submitted several rejoinders and clarifications in the matter
before the EC.
The prayer for disqualifying Mayawati as an MLA was rejected by the EC
because the grounds for disqualification of a candidate have been
clearly laid down in the Constitution. The petitioners had pressed for
her disqualification because as chief minister, she allegedly misused
government funds for getting her statues installed.
But the poll panel ruled that this was not covered under the grounds
for disqualification specified in the Constitution. The EC gave
detailed reasons for rejecting the other main contention related to
freezing the BSP's election symbol of elephant.
It said the BSP is a recognised "national party" with a "reserved"
election symbol across the country (except Assam) assigned to it on
the basis of its electoral performance as per the Election Symbols
(Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
"One contingency that can result in the withdrawal of recognition and
the subsequent withdrawal of the reserved symbol is the failure of the
party to come up with the poll performance as required under the
It is nobody's case that the BSP has failed in its poll performance to
measure up to the prescribed standards for continued recognition as a
national party," the EC order said.
Under the rules, the other reasons for which the EC can suspend or
withdraw the recognition of a political party are its failure to
observe the model code of conduct or follow the lawful directions and
instructions of the poll panel.
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