Pram to sofa, home and hearth turn muse for party symbols in Karnataka

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A large number of candidates have turned to household items as they feel that these symbols will resonate with their voters

Every election season ushers in a slew of party symbols that range from the mundane to the outlandish. A pram, calculator, CCTV camera, chapati roller, a dish antenna… these are some of the selections by Independent candidates and registered political parties that are not recognised as national or State parties. Across India, 198 free symbols have been approved by the Election Commission of India.

A large number of candidates have turned to home and hearth for inspiration choosing household items and kitchen utensils as they feel that these symbols will resonate with their voters. Those contesting from parliamentary constituencies in Karnataka have opted for a tumbler, bread toaster, pressure cooker and chapati roller. Candidates who were unable to register for popular symbols have chosen sofas, almirahs, sewing machines, letter boxes, and a gas cylinder.

Fruits and vegetables, too, are a popular choice. These include cauliflower, pineapple, grapes, jackfruit, ladyfinger, green chilli, and watermelon. A lot of thought goes into the final selection of a symbol.

C.H. Narayanaswamy, an Independent candidate from Chitradurga constituency, said that he chose ladyfinger for his symbol as he believed that it was a vegetable everybody will identify with easily. “I shortlisted ladyfinger as it’s also very good for people’s health,” he said.

When he launched the Uttama Prajaakeeya Party, actor Upendra went with an autorickshaw as it represents the common man. “I’m also a fan of Shankar Nag and his ideas, and he was popularly known as Auto Raja,” he said. Items such as telephone, computer, and air-conditioner are also sought after as they show that the candidate or party is willing to embrace new technologies. Independent candidates whose symbols have gained prominence include wife of the late M.H. Ambareesh, Sumalatha. She has chosen a man blowing a trumpet or turha. Prakash Raj, who is contesting from Bangalore Central, picked a whistle.

Some candidates, however, have chosen to swim against the tide by steering clear of household items and produce. Instead, they have slippers, sitars, bangles, and bricks as election symbols. Vatal Nagaraj from Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha, who is contesting from Bangalore South, said that he picked slippers as it protects one’s feet. “Chappals do not discriminate between the rich or the poor and is the symbol of equality. Bharatha had placed Rama’s paduka on the throne in his absence,” he said.

Sources in the State Election Commission pointed out that if two candidates in a particular constituency fight for the same symbol, then the Returning Officer uses a lottery method to allot symbols to them.

Amritha Jai Kumar Essac Yesaiah of Karnataka Karmikara Paksha, who will contest for election from Bengaluru North, said: “We had asked for another symbol that signifies a labourer, but we have been allotted the symbol of bread toaster as another organisation went to court to fight for ownership of the labourer symbol. We did not want to miss out on an opportunity to contest the elections. So we picked this symbol,” he said.

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