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Lok Sabha polls 2019: Party symbols and recognition; how Election Commission decides on related matters

Every time a new political party seeks a symbol, seeks recognition as a state or national party, or warring factions within parties lay claim to the party symbol, the Election Commission of India decides on these matters in accordance with the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) (Amendment) Order, 2017.

The order was first promulgated in 1968 under the People's Representation Act, 1951, to "provide for specification, reservation, choice and allotment of symbols at elections in parliamentary and Assembly constituencies, for the recognition of political parties in relation thereto and for matters connected herewith".

 Lok Sabha polls 2019: Party symbols and recognition; how Election Commission decides on related matters

Congress and BJP's party symbols on colourful materials. AFP

According to the order, party/candidate symbols are either reserved or free. A reserved symbol is one that is meant for a recognised political party, whereas a free symbol is one that is up for grabs by any party or individual. For example, the Congress symbol of a hand and the BJP's lotus are reserved symbols and can only be used by candidates from the respective parties contesting in an election.

The Election Commission recognises seven national parties and 52 state parties. Also, there are more than 1,900 unrecognised political parties at present.

Conditions for recognition as a national party

Under the order, for a political party to be recognised as a national party, it has to fulfill one of the following three conditions:

- Candidates fielded by the party in four or more states in the last Lok Sabha or Assembly elections should have received at least 6 percent of the total valid votes polled in each of state. Additionally, the party should have sent at least four members to the Lok Sabha in the last general election from any state or states.

- During the last Lok Sabha election, the party should have won at least 2 percent of the total seats in the Lok Sabha, and its candidates should have been elected to the House from no less than three states.

- The party should be recognised as a state party in at least four states.

Allotment of symbols

Batsman, cauliflower, gramophone and tea filter — you might wonder what these four have in common. They are all among the nearly 200 free symbols up for grabs by any political party or candidate to use while contesting an election.

To get a symbol allotted, the candidate will have to provide a list of three symbols in order of preference from the free symbols list at the time of filing nomination papers. One of the preferred three will be allotted to the candidate on a first-come-first-served basis. The Election Commssion will reject any other symbol chose from outside the free list.

Two or more recognised parties can have the same symbol if they are not contesting in the same state or Union Territory. For example, both Bahujan Samaj Party and Asom Gana Parishad use the elephant symbol. If the former decides to contest in Assam, it will have to do so using a different symbol. The same applies to the Federal Party of Manipur and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam — both use the rising sun symbol.

Who gets the symbol if a party splits?

Under paragraph 15 of the order, the Election Commission has the power to decide which faction of a political party, after it splits, gets to use the allotted symbol. With the Samajwadi Party, the poll watchdog allotted the bicycle symbol to the Akhilesh Yadav faction.

The Election Commission can also freeze the symbol and ask both factions to choose a fresh one, as it had done with AIADMK's two leaves symbol row.

List of party symbols

Here is a list of India's recognised national parties and the symbols allotted to each of them:

1) All India Trinamool Congress – flowers and grass

2) Bahujan Samaj Party – elephant (in all states and Union Territories except Assam)

3) Bharatiya Janata Party – lotus

4) Communist Party of India – ears of corn and sickle

5) Communist Party of India (Marxist) – hammer, sickle and star

6) Indian National Congress – hand

7) Nationalist Congress Party – clock

Here is a list of recognised state parties and the symbols allotted to them:

Andhra Pradesh

Telangana Rashtra Samithi – car

Telugu Desam Party – bicycle

YSR Congress Party – ceiling fan

Arunachal Pradesh

People's Party of Arunachal – maize


All India United Democratic Front – lock and key

Asom Gana Parishad – elephant

Bodoland People's front –nangol


Janata Dal (United) – arrow

Lok Jan Shakti Party – bungalow

Rashtriya Janata Dal – hurricane lamp

Rashtriya Lok Samata Party – ceiling fan


Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J) – farmer ploughing (within square)


Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party – lion

Goa Forward Party – coconut


Indian National Lok Dal – spectacles

Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir National Conference – plough

Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party – bicycle

Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party – ink pot and pen


AJSU Party – banana

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha – bow and arrow

Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) – comb

Rashtriya Janata Dal – hurricane lamp


Janata Dal (Secular) – a female farmer carrying paddy on her head

Karnataka Jantha Paksha – Yet to be allotted


JD(S) – a female farmer carrying paddy on her head

Kerala Congress (M) – two leaves

Indian Union Muslim League – ladder

Revolutionary Socialist Party – spade and stoker


Maharashtra Navnirman Sena – railway engine

Shiv Sena – bow and arrow


Naga People's Front – cock

People's Democratic Alliance – crown

National People's Party – book


United Democratic Party – drum

Hill State People's Democratic Party – lion

National People's Party – book


Mizo National Front – star

Mizoram People's Conference – electric bulb

Zoram Nationalist Party – sun (without rays)


Naga Peoples Front – cock

National Capital Territory

Aam Aadmi Party – broom


Biju Janata Dal – conch


AIADMK – two leaves

All India NR Congress – jug

DMK – rising sun

Pattali Makkal Katchi – mango


Shiromani Akali Dal – scales

AAP – broom


Sikkim Democratic Front – umbrella

Sikkim Krantikari Morcha – table lamp

Tamil Nadu

AIADMK – two leaves

DMK – rising sun

Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam – nagara


All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen – kite

TRS – car

TDP – bicycle

YSR Congress Party - ceiling fan

Uttar Pradesh

Rashtriya Lok Dal – hand pump

Samajwadi Party – bicycle

West Bengal

All India Forward Bloc – lion

Revolutionary Socialist Party – spade and stoker

Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.

Updated Date: Apr 07, 2019 13:11:18 IST

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