Putting elephant statues by ex-BSP govt disturbs level-playing field: NGO to Delhi HC

The installation of statues of elephants at public places by Bahujan Samaj Party "disturbs the level-playing field" in an electoral contest, an NGO on Monday told the Delhi High Court.

PTI| Last Updated: Oct 13, 2014, 21:28 PM IST

New Delhi: The installation of statues of elephants at public places by Bahujan Samaj Party "disturbs the level-playing field" in an electoral contest, an NGO on Monday told the Delhi High Court.

The NGO, Common Cause, which has sought cancellation of BSP's election symbol elephant, said the installation of permanent statue of the biggest mammal at public places in Uttar Pradesh by the then Mayawati government there stands on the same footing like the display of a photograph inside an office which can vitiate the level-playing field.

"The installation of permanent representations of the election symbol of a political party in public places has the effect of permanently disturbing the level-playing field in an electoral contest.

"If the display of a photograph inside an office can vitiate the level-playing field, the installation of a permanent statute at a public place, which is visible at all times to every passerby, can be said to have a deeper impact on the mind of the electorate," the reply filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, said.

Justice Manmohan had sought the written submissions on the issue whether the party (BSP) obtained any unfair advantage in election by erecting the statues at state expense as this point had not been decided by the Election Commission (EC) on the NGO's plea.

The NGO moved the high court after the EC had rejected its plea for cancellation of BSP's election symbol for using state funds to erect the statues, saying the then Mayawati government in UP had not, despite repeated requests, furnished the desired information about the exact number and location of statues of elephant.

Bhushan in his six-page written submission, filed through advocate Shyam Singh Chauhan, said that "in the interests of justice and preservation of the purity and integrity of the electoral process, the order of the EC of India be set aside."