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OJM takes ‘kite’ symbol war to High Court

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OST Bureau
Cuttack, Dec 17:

OJM's election symbol
OJM’s election symbol

Challenging the refusal of the State Election Commission (SEC) to allow Odisha Jan Morcha ( OJM ) to contest the forthcoming Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections with the ‘kite’ symbol allotted to it by the Election Commission of India (ECI) recently, the party on Tuesday moved the Odisha High Court.

The party in a writ petition prayed to the court to accord official status to the party symbol and direct the SEC to abide by its order.

The SEC decision to debar OJM from using the  ‘kite’ symbol in the ensuing BMC polls has come a major jolt to Pyarimohan Mohapatra and his party which had already chalked out an elaborate plan to grab some of the wards in the city, sources said.

The SEC had earlier informed Mohapatra, president of OJM, through a letter that the the OJM party candidates can not use the ‘kite’ symbol as it is not permissible under the existing rules.

The Commission had said the ‘kite’  is also not even among the approved symbols for independent candidates for the BMC polls.

“The stipulation in the orders of the ECI that a registered unrecognized party can apply only six months before the expiry of the term of Assembly and before and latest by five days before the notification for election is issued. But, the SEC issued notification to hold BMC elections on December 6 while OJM informed the commission on December 13 and then on December 16,” the SEC said while rejecting  Mohapatra’s request seeking permission to use the ‘kite’ symbol .

It is to be noted that two days ago, OJM president in a letter to the SEC, had stated that the stipulation in the orders of the ECI cited by the SEC are relevant and applicable only when the Election Commission of India considers the request for allotment of election symbol of a new political party.

It is now up to the High Court to take a final view in the matter, sources in the OJM said.