Mumbai: As polling day nears edgy political parties and nervous candidates pin hopes on their poll symbols which the voters may recall and help clinch the EVM count in their favour.
Barring the few major mainstream parties -- whose election symbols are known nationally -- other smaller or local parties and independents struggle with the symbols given to them by the Election Commission of India (ECI) for the battle.
There's the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party with the 'Lotus', Shiv Sena has the 'Bow & Arrow', Congress's 'Hand', Nationalist Congress Party's 'Clock', Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's 'Railway Engine', Samajwadi Party's 'Bicycle', Aam Aadmi Party's 'Broom', and a few others that the electorate is familiar with.
However, there are a host of other symbols that may seem bizarre or wacky and weird which have been allotted by the ECI this time that may embarrass some candidates and put off the potential voters.
The symbols reflect the sheer imagination of the invisible army of back-office players whose 'symbolic' creations encompass every possible stuff from the comforts of the hearth to the fields, sailing in the ocean and soaring in the skies, indirectly hinting at the signs of progress and prosperity in the country.
Fortunately, this time -- as in the previous Lok Sabha elections -- no animals have been given out as poll symbols to discourage any form of cruelty or exploitation, as per the ECI's orders.
The symbols include an 'Almirah', 'Sofa', 'CCTV Camera', 'Cot', 'Stool', 'Gramophone', 'Air conditioner', 'Room Cooler', 'Dish Antenna', 'Television', 'Phone Charger', 'TV Remote', 'Computer', 'Baby Walker', 'Tubelight' or an 'Envelope' on which the candidates are expected to seek votes.
The symbols have also been chosen from personal accessories -- 'Coat', 'Frock', 'Sandals', 'Shoes','Walking Stick', 'Briefcase', 'Laptop', 'Pen-drive', 'Hat', 'Belt', `Bangles`, 'Bead Necklace', 'Syringe', 'Stethoscope', 'Key', 'Ring', and a 'Diamond'.
Delving into the kitchen, the ECI has picked up 'Scissors', 'Gas Stove', 'Gas Cylinder', 'Matchbox', 'Pot', 'Pan', 'Kettle', 'Cup & Saucer', 'Glass Tumbler', 'Bucket', 'Tongs' and 'Water Tank'. In the past there was this non-ecofriendly "mashaal", but now this has been replaced with the 'Battery Torch'.
The election symbols also include some mouthwatering goodies like 'Plateful Food', 'Bread', 'Biscuit', 'Ice-cream', 'Basketful of Fruits', 'Jackfruit', 'Apple', 'Grapes', 'Water Melon', vegetables like 'Ladyfinger', 'Green Chilli' and 'Cauliflower'.
From sports and outdoors, there are symbols like 'Swing', 'Binoculars', 'Kite', 'Football', 'Football Player', 'Bat', 'Batsman', 'Ludo', 'Swing', 'Helmet', 'Whistle', 'Throwing a Javelin', 'Dumb-bells' and 'Balloon'.
The farming community is represented by a land 'Tiller', 'Sugarcane farmer', 'Truck', 'Winnower', 'Farmer driving a Tractor', 'A Lady Farmer carrying Paddy on her Head' and 'Coconut Farm'.
Not to leave out the labour class, the ECI has picked up symbols from here also -- 'Drill Machine', 'Plastering Trowel', 'Wheel Barrow', 'Spanner', 'Saw', 'Cutting Pliers' and 'Chakki'.
Modes of transport include `Truck`, `Boat with Man & Sail`, `Cart`, `Tyres`, `Road roller`, `Crane`, `Ship` and `Helicopter` for the candidates.
For the musically inclined, the collection of symbols comprises `Mike`, `Violin`, `Flute`, `Harmonium`, `Trumpet` and `Whistle`.
There are a few others like `Electric Pole`, `Blackboard`, `Slate`, `Bench`, `Box` and `Triangle`.
Many candidates who have been handed out such symbols to choose from have bitterly complained that it is difficult for them to popularise these symbols in such a short span of 40-day campaign time.
However, an EC official explained that they have limitations on the number of symbols available in their bank, and hence, the same symbols are allotted to multiple candidates in different constituencies and for different elections to prevent voter confusion.