Delhi poll panel opposes Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India's symbol plea
New Delhi: Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India's plea for a common symbol to contest the upcoming MCD polls was today opposed in the Delhi High Court by the Delhi State Election Commission.
The poll panel said the party's plea was not maintainable because there are many registered but unrecognised parties which have not been given a common symbol. It wanted to know "why should such preference be given to Swaraj India?"
The poll panel's submission was made before Justice Hima Kohli, who listed the matter for hearing on Tuesday.
The Delhi State Election Commission (DSEC) also said it was only implementing the directions of the Union government which has the power to change the rules.
It said the powers to change the rules have been delegated to the Lieutenant Governor and not to it.
The Commission contended that Swaraj India has not challenged their March 14 notifuication which bars grant of a common symbol to the candidates of unrecognised but registered parties.
Swaraj India, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, said it has challenged the March 14 notification.
The court, however, said since the affidavit has not been taken on record yet, the matter will be heard on Tuesday.
In its plea, Swaraj India has also sought quashing of the Delhi State Election Commission's April 2016 notification which said the nominees of such parties would be treated as independent candidates for allotment of symbols.
The MCD polls are scheduled for April 22.
Swaraj India was floated in October last year by Yadav and Bhushan, who were expelled from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) after they questioned Arvind Kejriwal's leadership.
The party, registered by the Election Commission of India (ECI) in February 2017, has contended that the Delhi Symbol order was "wholly illegal, arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable and selective, destroying the very fairness of the proposed electoral process itself".
Swaraj India has contended in its plea that providing it a common symbol will create a level playing field between all the parties, whether recognised or not, and ensure free and fair elections.
Swaraj India has also challenged the February 21, 2017 and March 7, 2017, orders of the poll panel declining the party's request for a common symbol.
The party has contended that the Delhi poll panel rejected their request for a symbol despite a provision in the ECI rules to provide a common symbol to a registered but unrecognised political party like Swaraj India, which is set to make its election debut in the upcoming MCD polls.
The party said that ECI's Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) (Amendment) Order allows newly registered political parties to have a common symbol for all their candidates for contesting their first election.
The party has claimed that states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal, Kerala, Sikkim and Tripura follow the rule.
"It is submitted that the respondents (Delhi poll panel and Delhi government) arbitrarily and with malafide intention are not changing their order in line with the position laid down and practised by the ECI and the other state election commissions (SECs)," its petition said.
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