When you can’t convince them, confuse them. This line seems to be the golden rule for some political parties and they are following the same in Munugode bypoll. In a wicked ploy to confuse voters, some independent candidates were fielded with election symbols alike the TRS party’s car symbol allegedly at the behest of opposition parties.
Symbols such as road roller, rolling pin and board, camera, television, soap dish, ship, etc., are some of the free symbols that independent candidates can choose as their election symbols. All these symbols are similar to the TRS party’s election symbol – car.
In the past, these symbols have dented the prospects of TRS nominees in many elections. And, in a tightly fought election, even if the candidates bearing any of those symbols poll even 500-1000 votes that can alter the election result. It had happened in the past, the TRS lost a few MLA seats in the 2018 assembly elections and an MP seat in the 2019 general elections.
Reportedly, in the ensuing Munugode bypoll, a candidate bearing the road roller symbol is placed just below the TRS party’s candidate in the EVM. Certainly, this can create confusion among the voters while pressing the button as the election symbols of car and road roller look alike.
TRS had made numerous representations to the Election Commission to delete such symbols from the free symbols list and also moved the High Court of Telangana but to no avail. A free and fair election is the premise of democracy, and definitely, this is not a level playing field.