Political parties and candidates are using many a curious election symbols in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Uttarakhand. However, even with just two day remaining for the state to go to polls on May 7, only the prominent symbols like the hand (Congress), the lotus (BJP) and the broom (AAP), among others, appear to be ringing in the minds of the people at large.
On the other hand, the symbols of other political parties and candidates seem to be shrouding in a relatively oblivious state.
From a dish antenna, air conditioner to a diesel pump and school bag, a host of unusual poll signage is generating curiosity among the masses. Some peculiar symbols being used by the parties and candidates include a whistle, battery torch, stethoscope, scissors, glass tumbler, cot, black board, ring and bucket. Also trying to make their presence felt amid the poll hullabaloo are symbols like sewing machine, candles, saw, bat, camera, coconut, table lamp, shuttle and gas stove.
For many, the odd symbols are not merely signs, but signify their party ideology. Ram Naresh, who is fighting the general elections on a Kalyankari Jantantrik Party ticket from the Haridwar parliamentary seat, is flaunting the school bag as his election symbol. Quiz him about the strange sign being used by the party and Naresh is quick to respond, “Our party, founded in 2012, is laying huge stress on the importance of education. It believes that the root cause of most problems in our country is illiteracy. Hence, we have chosen this symbol (school bag) so that it reflects our education-based ideology,” he said.
The Naya Daur Party, which is using a stethoscope as its election symbol, is trying to convey its special focus on health issues with its choice of logo. The party’s Haridwar candidate Sanjay Goyal explains, “Around 50 doctors are fighting from the party in different states and hence the logo was an obvious choice. While it is already a known symbol in few a states, we are trying to popularise it in Uttarakhand extensively by undertaking the door-to-door public connect programmes, and communicating to them our focus on health sector.”
Even as some candidates/parties have been struggling to boost the visibility of their symbols, there are some who wish they had some more time in hand. Election campaigning ended for all the five Lok Sabha seats in Uttarakhand on Monday evening.
Gaurav Pundir, 27, who is one of the youngest candidates in the fray for the Lok Sabha polls in the state, is fighting on the Tehri-Garhwal seat as an independent candidate with grapes as his symbol. “As an independent, I was allotted my election symbol on April 23. Since polling is on May 7, there was hardly time to promote my symbol. I wish it (symbol distribution) was held a bit earlier,” he said.
Meanwhile, some are blaming it on the publicity blitzkrieg created by major parties. “Being well-established and ‘prosperous’, prominent parties have been able to grind their respective symbols in the public psyche over the years. We, the smaller parties, have to bear the brunt and suffer a lot in terms of campaigning as we fail to popularise our symbols adequately,” confessed the leader of an Uttarakhand-based registered party, who wished not to be named.
It is worth mentioning that all candidates fielded by the national or state parties are allotted the symbols exclusively reserved for their respective parties. The rest of the candidates are required to choose any three symbols from the list of free symbols drawn out by the Election Commission of India (ECI) for the specific state.
Symbols help an average and even an illiterate voter easily understand, recognise and remember the party/candidate.