• The Election Commission of India (ECI) has frozen the ‘Bungalow’ election symbol of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), so that neither of the two factions of the party — led by Chirag Paswan and Pashupati Kumar Paras — will be able to use it in the coming Assembly byelections for the Kusheshwar Asthan and Tarapur seats in Bihar.
• The LJP split in June this year after five of the party’s six MPs ousted Chirag (Jamui) as their leader and replaced him with Paras.
• Over the last few years, two other prominent cases of parties splitting, followed by a tussle over the election symbol, have been seen with regard to the Samajwadi Party (Cycle) and the AIADMK (Two leaves) in 2017.
• Para 15 of the Symbols Order, 1968 deals with the question of a split in a political party outside the legislature.
• It states that When the Commission is satisfied that there are rival sections or groups of a recognised political party each of whom claims to be that party the Commission may decide that one such rival section or group or none of such rival sections or groups is that recognised political party.
• The decision of the Commission shall be binding on all such rival sections or groups.
• This applies to disputes in recognised national and state parties. For splits in registered but unrecognised parties, the EC usually advises the warring factions to resolve their differences internally or to approach the court.
What happens to the group that doesn’t get the parent party’s symbol?
• In 1997, the EC introduced a new rule under which the splinter group of the party — other than the group that got the party symbol — had to register itself as a separate party, and could lay claim to national or state party status only on the basis of its performance in state or central elections after registration.
Mains Paper 2: Polity
Prelims level: Election symbol
Mains level: About the election symbol rules