National

Parties raise concern about similar election symbols

  • Say they could confuse voters no end during upcoming polls
- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA, Kathmandu
Election Commission officials say they were trying to find a middle path after there were disputes over election symbols

Sep 26, 2017-

An umbrella and an umbrella inside a circle. A plough inside a circle and a plough inside a rectangle. And there are different combinations of a sickle, a hammer and a star.

These are some of the election symbols issued by the Election Commission (EC) to political parties for the federal and provincial elections to be held on November 26 and December 7.

 

Political parties have raised concerns about the EC decision of granting similar election symbols, saying this could confuse voters no end. 

 

The Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (RJP-N)’s election symbol is an umbrella while the Janashakti Party has been granted an umbrella inside a circle.

 

The RJP-N, a unified force of six Madhes-based parties which contested the third phase of local elections with the bicycle as its election symbol, has expressed concern about the EC decision to grant an umbrella to it and a similar symbol to “a fringe party like the Janashakti Party”. 

 

“This could affect our votes because we are a better recognised party,” said Keshav Jha, an RJP-N leader. “We told the EC that we could have demanded a tree inside a circle as our election symbol if we knew the poll body can hand out election symbols in such a random way.” Tree is the election symbol of the Nepali Congress. 

 

The election symbol of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (Prajatantrik), led by Pashupati Shumsher Rana, is a plough while a plough inside a rectangle has been given to the Ekikrit RPP (Rastrabadi) led Prakash Chandra Lohani. Leaders of both the parties said they are not happy with EC’s decision. 

 

EC officials, however, defended their decision, saying the poll body tried to find a middle path after there were disputes over election symbols.

 

Earlier, the RJP-N had demanded an umbrella as its election symbol for the local polls. But it was given a bicycle. But the Janashakti Party had first sought an umbrella as its election symbol.

 

The EC gave the umbrella symbol to the RJP-N and an umbrella inside a circle to the Janashakti Party for the upcoming polls. The Janashakti Party had even moved the court to pre-empt any EC decision against it.  

 

During the two CA elections in 2008 and 2013, then Unified CPN (Maoist), now the CPN (Maoist Centre), had complained with the EC that their voters “were taken away” by the CPN (ML) because the election symbols of these two parties were very similar. 

“But it’s the duty of a concerned political party to convince its voters about the election symbol,” said EC Commissioner Narendra Dahal.

Published: 26-09-2017 08:06

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