Kerala

Kerala Assembly Elections | Kerala Congress in a bind over election symbol

Even as it awaits allotment of a new election symbol from the Election Commission of India (ECI) post a merger, the Kerala Congress’ plans to ensure a common symbol to all its candidates in the upcoming Assembly elections appear to have hit a blockade with the entry of a smaller outfit in the poll fray.

According to party sources, all 10 candidates fielded by the Kerala Congress (KC) had sought ‘tractor’ as their election symbol. However, in Changanassery, it will have to compete with Babychan Mukkadan, a Congress rebel who contests as a candidate of the Indian Christian Secular Party, for the symbol.

Concerned over the development, the KC leadership is now working overtime to convince Mr. Mukkadan to withdraw his nomination. “We are still hopeful that he will come up with a favourable decision by March 23, the last date for withdrawing nominations,” said a top KC leader.

Coin toss

In case Mr. Mukkadan decides against pulling back, the allocation of the symbol will be decided on the toss of a coin. The party, meanwhile, is confident of its remaining nine candidates receiving the symbol without much fuss.

Post its merger with the P.C. Thomas faction, the party tried to retrieve its old symbol ‘bicycle’, which did not fructify owing to a delay in approaching the ECI. Following this, the party's candidates marked ‘tractor’ as their preferred election symbol in their nominations, besides ‘coconut trees’ and ‘football’ as the second and third options.

“The merger has taken place only in principle and P.C. Thomas, who remains the party chairman on the paper, has already endorsed our candidates as party nominees. The move now awaits approval from the ECI, which may take some time and hence, the candidates are most likely to contest with the symbols allotted by the respective returning officers'', the leader added.

The continuing uncertainty over the symbol also forced a delay in the candidates submitting their nominations till Friday afternoon, with just a couple of hours for the deadline. In view of the confusion, the party's candidates submitted three sets of nominations seeking different election symbols and the dummy nominations will be withdrawn on allocation of the desired symbol.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 7:50:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/kerala-assembly/kerala-elections-kerala-congress-in-a-bind-over-election-symbol/article34117906.ece

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