In a move that may indicate changing equations at the Centre, the Nationalist Congress Party led by Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar has offered its ‘clock’ symbol to the Prajarajyam Party of Chiranjeevi to contest the elections in Andhra Pradesh.
If accepted by Prajarajyam, Pawar’s NCP will take on its UPA ally, the Congress, in the coming elections in the state.
NCP is a registered national party with the Election Commission of India and was allotted the ‘clock’ symbol way back in 2000 after its electoralperformance in Maharashtra and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Prajarajyam sources said the offer to lend its symbol to Chiranjeevi’s party was made by Y P Trivedi, NCP treasurer and close confidant of Pawar, when he met the Prajarajyam president here a few days ago.
The offer comes as a welcome relief for Prajarajyam as the Election Commission has rejected its plea for a common symbol on the ground that the new party does not meet the required criteria. “We are in the process of weighing the option of accepting NCP’s proposal,” A Prajarajyam Party senior leader said.
The sources added that Chiranjeevi is inclined to take up the ‘clock’ symbol. “His initial concern was whether by using the NCP symbol, would the party still be able to qualify for being recognised as a regional party by the EC for the next elections. After being told by EC that Prajarajyam will qualify provided it meets the criteria, the NCP offer is likely to be accepted,” the sources said.
NCP too stands to gain from the arrangement. “While the party’s stature as a national party will grow by the usage of the clock symbol in Andhra Pradesh, it is also seen as a direct challenge to Congress president Sonia Gandhi as the ‘clock’ would be pitted against the ‘hand’ symbol of the Congress. There is a clear message to the Congress that the NCP cannot be taken for granted by the Congress in the post-election scenario,” one leader said.
According to Prajarajyam sources, Chiranjeevi feels that lack of a common symbol might greatly mar the performance of the party in the elections. “Chiranjeevi has a huge following in rural areas and many of these voters are either illiterate or semi-literate and therefore, rely on the symbol to cast their votes. The lack of a common symbol is bound to confuse the rural voter,” the sources said. Hence, the likelihood of Prajarajyam taking up the NCP’s offer, they added.
Posted by Admin on Wednesday