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Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) entitled to use party symbol ‘Arrow’: Election Commission

The EC ruling comes as a setback to Sharad Yadav, who had maintained that the faction led by him was the real JD(U).

india Updated: Nov 17, 2017 17:13 IST
Vijay Swaroop
Vijay Swaroop
Hindustan Times, Patna
JD(U),Nitish Kumar,Arrow symbol
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar(PIB)

In a setback to Sharad Yadav camp, the Election Commission on Friday rejected its petition staking claim to party symbol ‘arrow’ and recognised the Nitish Kumar-led group as the real JD (U). The decision will pave the way for Kumar to contest Gujarat elections.

The JD(U), a recognised state party, in all probability will contest five seats in Gujarat, which goes to polls in December. The JD(U), an NDA ally, had contested on 65 assembly seats in 2012 but won just one.

“The party aims to contest 5-6 seats in Dahod and Chotta Udaipur areas where the tribal presence is more. The symbol arrow is very popular in those areas,” said party’s principal spokesperson KC Tyagi.

The EC in its order said the group led by Kumar “has demonstrated overwhelming majority support” in the legislature wing as well as the majority in the national council of the party, which is the apex organisational body of the JD (U).

“The group led by Nitish Kumar is hereby recognised as the Janata Dal (United)...Consequently, the group led by Nitish Kumar is entitled to use the reserved symbol ‘Arrow’ of the party as a recognised state party in Bihar,” the order read.

“This was obvious from day one. The decision has put a stamp on the claim that JD (U) led by Nitish Kumar is asli (real) one,” said Tyagi.

The total legislative strength of the JD (U) in the country is 115 that includes 72 MLAs, 31 MLCs, two Lok Sabha MPs and 10 Rajya Sabha MPs. “Out of this 110 are with Nitish Kumar,” said Sanjay Kumar Jha, party’s national general secretary.

The EC, earlier in September had rejected Yadav’s claim over the Arrow symbol as it felt that Yadav’s group did not produce any supporting document to show it had adequate support of the legislative wing and the organizational wing, which qualifies them to make it the ‘splinter group of the party within the meaning of paragraph 15 of Election Symbols (Reservation & Allotment) Order, 1968.’

Rajya Sabha MP and senior JD(U) leader Yadav, who had rebelled against Kumar’s decision to walk out of the Grand Alliance in Bihar and form government with the BJP, had termed the faction led by him as the ‘real’ one while one led by Kumar as ‘sarkari JD(U)’.

“The EC’s decision is disgraceful. This type of decision will encourage autocratic behaviour in parties. We will go to the people and let them decide which is the real JD (U),” said Yadav’s faction leader, Arun Kumar Srivastava.

He said, the group will also mull legal recourse over the decision.

The Nitish faction, had also petitioned the Rajya Sabha secretariat seeking disqualification of Sharad and Ali Anwar, both MP’s, from the Rajya Sabha membership for their “anti-party activities”. The decision is also to come soon.

First Published: Nov 17, 2017 16:02 IST