The Aam Aadmi Party of Arvind Kejriwal faces a peculiar predicament in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections. The party, which is hoping to wrest BJP’s control over the parliamentary seats in the national capital, has moved the Delhi High Court after another party from Delhi named ‘Aapki Apni Party (Peoples)’ has registered itself for election. With a battery torch as its symbol, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP has contended that it resembles its symbol of the broom, reported Indian Express. The move came in a bid to restrain AAP from using the symbol for the upcoming elections.
In the petition filed before Justice Yogesh Khanna, AAP has alleged that the Election Commission unthoughtfully allotted the battery torch symbol to ‘Aapki Apni Party’. The plea filed by Advocate R Arunadhri Iyer read, “The name of Respondent No. 2 (Aapki Apni Party) is confusingly similar to that of the petitioner (AAP),” reported Indian express. However, the petition has not been heard yet, as the bench did not assemble till Tuesday.
The EC has two sets of symbols, one that is ‘reserved’ for the already recognised state and national parties, and the other ‘free’ – which is for the independent candidates or unrecognised political parties. The unrecognised or independent candidates have to choose from three symbols from the list, according to EC norms.
The plea filed by AAP also claimed that the EC had allotted the symbol to Aapki Apni Party on December 21, for 41 constituencies in 6 states and an unspecified number of constituencies in Haryana and Delhi. AAP also objected the registration the party, as both the abbreviations of the two parties are same and that might confuse the voters.
It also added that, on January 1, 2019, the party was shocked to discover about Aapki Apni Party, using a similar symbol and the same acronym in its publicity material and other symbols.
During last Assembly Election as well, AAP had complained to EC about voters being misled for the similarity in torch and broom symbols. The party claims that they lost many seats in that election because of independent candidates from parties with similar names and symbols like AAP – be it shuttlecock, torch or pen nib with rays.
Previously in 2013 Delhi Assembly election, independent candidates from Kalkaji and Janakpuri with torch symbols were polled more votes than the margin by which AAP candidate lost – following which, the EC had to delist torch from the free list of symbols. In 2017 as well, AAP’s leaders had objected the use of ‘okra’ symbol saying it looked like the party’s broom.