Swaraj India leaders Yogendra Yadav (L) and Prashant Bhushan (R) during a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal 30 Mar 2017 | 12:44 AM
NEW DELHI:The Delhi High Court today rejected the plea of Swaraj India, a new political party floated by Yogendra Yadav and advocate Prashant Bhushan following their expulsion from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), for allotment of a common symbol for fighting the April 23 elections to the Delhi Municipal Corporations.[ + read story ]
New Delhi, March 29
The Delhi High Court today rejected the plea of Swaraj India, a new political party floated by Yogendra Yadav and advocate Prashant Bhushan following their expulsion from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), for allotment of a common symbol for fighting the April 23 elections to the Delhi Municipal Corporations.
Justice Hima Kohli said the party was too late in seeking a common symbol. The HC accepted the state Election Commission’s contention that “it is very late in the day for this court to interfere in the process, which is no longer imminent, but well under way.”
The court also rejected the new party’s argument that the absence of a common symbol would adversely affect its prospects in the civic elections. It pointed out that the EC had decided to have the photographs of the contesting candidates on the electronic voting machines.
“This shall be of great assistance to voters who can easily identify the candidate in whose favour they propose to cast the vote. Thus, the petitioner cannot claim that it is being put to a disadvantage,” said Justice Hima Kohli.’
The party had approached the HC challenging the EC orders refusing its plea for a common symbol.
It’s AAP’s conspiracy, says Yogendra Yadav
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 29
The Swaraj India has accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government of “deliberately” sitting over a proposal of the State Election Commission (SEC) for two years now in connection with allowing “common symbol” to new registered but unrecognised political parties to contest municipal elections.
The move, according to leaders of the newly registered political party Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, is to “keep away” new parties, like Swaraj India, from the political race “denying” them a fair chance in the MCD elections.
The matter was taken by former State Election Commissioner Rakesh Mehta, who had written the Delhi government in 2015 marking it as a “priority” to do the requisite amendments in the Delhi Municipal Corporation Rules, 2012, in view of few observations of the Supreme Court in some cases, thereby enabling unrecognised political parties to apply for a common symbol to contest elections.
Interestingly, the AAP is understood to be one of the first beneficiaries of the EC’s order 2013 with a condition of contesting, at least, on 10 per cent seats during the Delhi Assembly elections.
In a letter to the Principal Secretary of Delhi Urban Development Department, dated March 5, 2015, Mehta had noted the SEC is constrained to assign symbols only to recognised national and state political parties.
However, with some local parties approaching the SEC for allotment of common symbol at a time when Delhi rules had no provision for the same, the Commission asked the Delhi government to change the rules on priority to facilitate common symbol for registered political parties.
“The Commission has decided to recognise ‘Delhi Local Political Parties’ for purpose of registering them as such, subject to fulfilment of certain conditions.... Such provisions exist in some other states but were not available in Delhi,” wrote the then State Election Commissioner.
“It is requested that the mater may kindly be looked into and fresh notification of complete rules (after amalgamation of amendments proposed) as “Delhi Municipal Corporation (Election of Councillors Rules, 2015, may be approved and would be gazetted after approval of the Lt Governor,” Mehta added.
Addressing mediapersons here, Yadav lashed out at the AAP and said, “The Delhi government unduly blocked for two years the SEC’s request marked as priority to amend rules of common election symbols to new parties just to ensure defeat of the Swaraj India.”