Party symbols are critical political resources due to following reasons –
• Helps in identification by a voter and eases voting process for a significant section which is illiterate
• Act as identifier of social base of the party – SP’s cycle identifies the party with common man
• Signifies the values and ideology – BJP’s saffron lotus signifies its cultural nationalism
• Identifier of benefactor – party symbols are stamped on welfare goods distributed to people and make them aware of how the benefactor is. Party symbols as wallpapers on distributed laptops
• Effective means of communication and publicity – party symbols stamped on billboards and subsidized goods conveys government’s welfare actions
Role of EC –
• EC assigns symbols to all registered parties considered their preference amongst the choices given
• EC reserves the symbol of recognized parties for their exclusive usage
• In case of split, EC decides on which faction will get the symbol based on mutual strength of the factions. EC can also forfeit the symbol and may not give the symbol to any faction
Impact on parties –
• EC’s decision to assign the symbol to one faction establishes legitimacy of the respective faction as original party. This is projected onto the voter making the political work of campaigning easier.
• Opposition faction will need to do the ground work to establish itself and making its symbol popular. Also difficult to woo the voters.
• Forfeiture signifies undecided future of the factions and committed voters might switch to other parties