NEW DELHI: The Telugu film hero Chiranjeevi, who has shaken all political parties in Andhra Pradesh with the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) last month, finds himself in a soup as the Election Commission is all set to deny a common poll symbol to his party in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections and Assembly elections in the state.
He would have raced to the court to secure some relief but for the Election Commission sitting tight over the PRP’s application for the symbol for the past many months.
Indications are that the EC may pronounce its decision just before announcing the elections, making it a fait accompli for Chiranjeevi to let his PRP candidates contest as independents.
Six pages of an Internal note clearly gives reasons for rejection of the
common symbol to PRP. This has been prepared by the legal wing of the EC and corrected by the Secretary to Election Commission. This notes shall be released
to the media after the EC faxes to PRP office in Hyderabad. This exercise is likely to happen on Monday.
Sources in the Election Commission say the law does not permit allotment of a symbol to any political party soon after its formation and even before it has contested any election. They say PRP did pass the first hurdle of getting itself registered with the Commission but it is yet to contest any election.
The rules stipulate allotment of a fixed symbol to only the national and state parties. For PRP to qualify as a state party, it has to obtain six per cent of the total votes polled and further it should have four MLAs in the state assembly. If Chiranjeevi has ambitions of heading a national party, it will have to secure six per cent of total votes polled in the Lok Sabha election and have at least one MP each from two different states.
Sources said the PRP also took it very casually during the arguments on the symbol before the full bench of the Election Commission. Moreover, its case dragged on as the hearing by the full bench had to be postponed time and again because of one or the other Election Commissioner proceeding on leave.
Those with Chiranjeevi even suspect that the Congress in power in Andhra Pradesh was pulling strings in the Election Commission to delay their hearing. Their hint is at Election Commissioner Navin Chawla who is already accused of being sympathetic to the Congress.
Source: R Rajagopalan