Why TRS is at war with EC over belan and roti rolling board | India News – Times of India


You have to be either a creative genius or a 5-year-old with rudimentary sketching skills to illustrate a ‘belan’ and roti rolling board in a way that it looks like a car.
As absurd as it may sound, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is engaged in a lengthy battle with the Election Commission over just this. The party is asking the Commission to delete some free symbols for Indpendents and smaller parties because voters often confuse them with TRS’ car, the belan and rolling board being one of them.

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There is now a sense of urgency on the issue in TRS as it has applied to change its name to Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and transform into a national party ahead of the 2024 general elections. The party is hoping to retain the car as its symbol in the new avatar.
How does a belan look like a car? Strategically place the belan over the rolling board, shrink its overall proportions and slightly extend the legs of the board and, voila, you have a crude-looking car.
The battle is not just about rotis and belans. As things stand today, TRS wants at least seven other symbols apart from the rotimaker deleted from EC’s list of images. And these include road-roller, camera, television, doli, soap dish, sewing machine and ship.
So, while the two factions of the Shiv Sena battle over powerful symbols like the bow-and-arrow, mashaal, and swords, TRS is left battling soap dishes and sewing machines.
The Commission has refused to remove the symbols, saying they are sufficiently unique. The election officials had in 2018 and 2019 deleted the truck and electric iron from the list of free symbols in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as they were similar to the car. They now say more symbols can’ t be deleted on the pretext of their being lookalikes.
The TRS, however, is not giving up the battle as it faces a tough challenge from the BJP in Telangana and can’t afford to have any confusio n on seats where the margins are likely to be thin.
In fact, just ahead of the recently concluded Munugode byelection in Telangana, the Commission took the unusual step of suspending the returning officer after he changed the allotted symbol to a candidate. Telangana chief electoral officer Vikas Raj charged the returning officer with vitiating the election process by changing the symbol of the Yuga Tulasi Party from the road-roller to a baby-stroller. The road-roller was later restored to YTP.
TRS says it is upset because Independent candidates end up getting substantial votes without campaigning because of this confusion. For instance, TRS won Munugode with a majority of 10,309 votes, while Independents with car lookalike symbols got around 6,000 votes. Even the BSP candidate got just 4,146 votes.
In the 2018 assembly election in Munugode, the road-roller had got 3,569 votes while BSP got just 743 votes. In the same election in Narsarampet constituency, the camera got 9,052 votes while the BJP and BSP candidates together managed 15,000 votes.
Telangana chief electoral officer Vikas Raj says, “Among free symbols, the first preference would be given to the unrecognised but registered parties, which can opt for a common symbol if multiple candidates are contesting. Then Independentswould get symbols from the choices they give. There is a laid-down procedure we follow. We follow the list issued in 2021 by the EC. ”
An Independent candidate of an unrecognised political party m ust approach the returning officer and get a symbol allotted from the list of free symbols. He or she must give options of three symbols from the free list at the time of submission of nomination papers, one of which will be allotted to him or her. Any symbol not existing in the list is rejected.
TRS senior leader and former MP Boinpally Vinod Kumar says, “In 2011, the Commission deleted the road-roller symbol, but brought it back on the list for the Munugode election. We have presented our case, asking for the deletion of eight symbols. But officials have refused us. We are going to demand electoral reforms that include giving powers to the returning officer to allot or cancel symbols. ”
Interestingly, in 2014, the Aam Admi Party had asked for the electric torch to be removed as it was similar to the broom. The party claimed it lost many assembly seats in Delhi because voters mistook the torch for the broom. The Commission later redesigned the torc.
Political strategist Errabelli Rajanikanth says, “Instead of deleting symbols, the Commission should revise them so that they look visibly distinct. But some symbols li ke the roti-roller look very similar to the car. Such symbols must be changed drastically. ”





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