Patna: The election commission has directed the JD(U) not to use its party symbol in the Jharkhand Assembly election which is scheduled to be held later this year.
The commission issued the order in response to an application filed by Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) which pointed to the similarity of its own party symbol “bow and arrow” with that of the JD(U)’s “arrow”.
JMM in its application had argued that the use of similar symbol could confuse the voters of the state.
Election Commission’s order copy which is also available with this newspaper clearly states that “the commission has directed that the JD(U) will not be granted concession under paragraph 10 of the symbols order to use their reserved symbol “arrow” for contesting elections in the state of Jharkhand and Maharashtra”.
The development is being seen as a setback for the JD(U) which was planning to contest assembly elections in Jharkhand on its own. Sources said that the JD(U) had started preparations on large scale and chief minister Nitish Kumar was scheduled to launch the party’s election campaign in Jharkhand later this month.
JD(U) had contested the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar in alliance with BJP and also intends to contest the 2020 assembly elections under the NDA. However, the decision to go solo outside Bihar was taken during a party’s executive meeting earlier this month in Patna.
“We have decided to contest election in Jharkhand on all 81 seats. Party will review the order and take necessary steps about the issue”, JD(U)’s Jharkhand general secretary Sharvan Kumar told this newspaper.
The assembly elections in the state are due in November- December this year. Jharkhand carved out of Bihar in 2000 has remained a traditional BJP stronghold. The BJP in alliance with All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) had won 42 seats (BJP- 37 and AJSU -5) in the 2014 assembly elections. However, in February 2015 six Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) members joined the BJP and the strength went up to 48.
The JD(U) which had won six assembly seats in 2005 doesn’t have any presence in the state legislature and is struggling to strengthen its organizational base in the state.