‘Free symbols will help those in the fray win voters cutting across political affiliations’

How far will the name and image of the political party help candidates in the urban local body elections? Many aspirants, including those from the Congress, the BJP or the JD(S), are shying away from using their party symbols, and preferring “free symbols” instead.

Senior leaders of various parties, including Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, have said that the elections would be fought on local issues, thereby indicating that the parties hardly matter.

Contesting on free symbols would enable those in the fray win voters cutting across political affiliations, said a former councillor of the Belgaum City Corporation.

A senior Youth Congress leader said though district president Laxmi Hebbalkar had appealed to the Congress members contesting from various wards under the Belgaum City Corporation besides city and town municipalities in the district to use the party symbol, contestants were not for it.

Also, elections to the Belgaum City Corporation council had always been fought on linguistic lines by Kannada- and Marathi-speaking communities with the former enjoying the support of Urdu-speaking councillors. Hence, a section of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti is leaving no stone unturned to maintain unity among Marathi-speaking candidates and ensure there was only one Marathi candidate in a ward so that the votes were not divided.

Kannada organisations are also busy evolving consensus, and planning to project only one candidate in a ward. However, it would not oppose an Urdu candidate in a ward where the Kannada candidate had no prospects.

Sources said an understanding had been reached between the Kannada organisations and political parties not to identify any of their members as official nominees so that there was no division of votes of Kannada-Urdu supporters that could upset the prospects of their candidates. It was for this reason too that none of the parties had officially announced the names of their members contesting the BCC elections.


According to official sources, 1,359 aspirants have filed their nominations for 392 wards under 16 municipalities, including the 58-member BCC council.

As many as 314 aspirants had filed their nominations to contest the BCC elections. The scrutiny of the nomination papers would be on February 25.

Polling would be on March 7 and the counting of votes on March 11.

With the process of submitting nomination papers ending on Saturday, serious contenders have already started lobbying.

Such candidates are bringing pressure on non-serious candidates to withdraw from the fray, according to the sources here.

  • ‘The Elections will be fought on local issues, and hence, the political parties hardly matter’

  • Election to the Belgaum City Corporation council is always fought on linguistic lines