Election Symbols Allotment Process in India

The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI), governs the allocation of election symbols to political parties and candidates in India. Here’s a rundown of the election symbol allocation procedure:

Political party recognition: The ECI recognises political parties based on certain criteria, such as receiving a certain percentage of votes in previous elections or winning a certain number of seats. Recognised political parties can run in elections and receive a reserved symbol.

Reserved symbols: Certain symbols are designated by the ECI as “reserved symbols.” These symbols are only available to recognised political parties. Well-known reserved symbols include the lotus (BJP), hand (Congress), elephant (BSP), and others. The allocation of reserved symbols is usually determined by the party’s previous performance or popularity.

Free Symbols: The ECI also designates a group of symbols as “free symbols.” Independent candidates and candidates from unregistered parties can use these symbols. The allocation of free symbols is done on a first-come, first-served basis.

Application procedure: Political parties and candidates must apply to the ECI for a symbol. The application, along with the required documents and fees, is submitted to the ECI’s office. The ECI evaluates the applications and assigns symbols accordingly.

Symbol Disputes : Symbol disputes may arise when multiple political parties or candidates request the same symbol. The ECI resolves such disputes through a variety of methods, including negotiation, consultation, and, if necessary, holding a draw or lottery to determine the symbol’s allocation.

Reservation of symbols for unidentified parties: Unidentified parties may request a specific symbol that is not a reserved symbol. The ECI considers such requests and may grant temporary reservation of the requested symbol for a specific election. This allows the unregistered party to use the symbol in that election.

The selection of election symbols is an important part of the Indian electoral process. Symbols are important in helping voters identify and associate candidates with political parties. During elections, they help with ballot recognition and contribute to the overall visibility and branding of political parties and candidates. The ECI ensures a fair and transparent process for symbol allocation, preserving the electoral system’s integrity and neutrality.